DAVIS, Calif. — UC Davis baseball head coach Matt Vaughn announced the signing of five high schoolers along with three junior college transfers to National Letters of Intent to continue their academic and athletic careers at UC Davis beginning in the 2019 season.
“We are very excited about this class, it’s one of our bigger classes, and we’re still working on getting three or four more recruits,” said head coach Matt Vaughn. “This is going to be great class for us starting in 2019,” Vaughn added.
“This is an uncommon class as we have three junior college transfers that signed with us,” said Vaughn. “It’s rare when we’re able to find three student-athletes that fit into the UC Davis model, and with Cooper, Justin, and Wyatt, we feel they can step in and help us right away,” Vaughn added.
The all-California group includes local talents Jake Jordan (Elk Grove, Calif./Elk Grove HS), Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS), and Nathan Peng (Saratoga, Calif./Saratoga HS), in addition to Southern California standout Cade Wesolowsky (San Diego, Calif./La Jolla Country Day School) and Bakersfield, Calif. native, Jalen Smith (Stockdale HS). Cooper Morrison (El Cerrito, Calif./Albany HS) is entering his second year at Reedley College, while Justin Smith (Roseville, Calif./Woodcreek HS) is beginning his second year at Yuba College, and Wyatt Tucker (Blue Lake, Calif./Acata HS) will enter his second season at the College of San Mateo.
Brief capsules on the eight early signees, in alphabetical order, are listed below.
JACOB JORDAN (6-0, 185, RHP, Bats R/Throws R, Elk Grove, Calif. / Elk Grove HS ’18)
The 6-0, 185-pound right-hander is a dual-sport athlete for Elk Grove HS, competing for the football and baseball programs. As a pitcher and outfielder during his junior year, Jordan helped his team to a section championship in 2017 and received all-league, all-state, Sac-Joaquin Section MVP, and team MVP accolades thanks to his 1.61 ERA. The senior quarterback also threw for 12 touchdowns this season and will return to the diamond in the spring to finish out his senior season. A National Agri-Science qualifier, Jordan’s efforts in the classroom have earned him a 4.18 GPA.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Jake is a pitcher out of Elk Grove HS, which is perennially one of the top high school programs in California. We watch them every year, and Jake is a guy that has done a great job in the classroom and plays in a great program. We feel like he’s going to be very prepared to step in right away and be an impact guy for us. We are lucky to have an athlete out of a great program like Elk Grove High School.”
NOLAN MEREDITH (5-10, 165, RHP/INF, Bats R/Throws R, Atascadero, Calif. / Atascadero HS ’18)
A 5-10, 165-pound right-hander out of Atascadero, Calif., Meredith is a multi-sport athlete who has competed for the baseball, basketball, and cross country programs at Atascadero HS. Garnering a 3.71 GPA, the honor roll member helped his team to two fourth-place league finishes as a freshman and sophomore. Meredith was also a four-year member of the Trosky Baseball Club team based in San Jose, Calif.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Nolan is a player that has come to several of our camps in the past and we’ve watched him quite a bit over the past couple years. What we like about Nolan is he’s athletic and versatile. He’s a high school shortstop, but he also pitches very well and we think he has a chance to help us in both spots.”
COOPER MORRISON (6-3, 180, OF, Bats L/Throws L, El Cerrito, Calif. / Albany HS ’16 / Reedley College)
A 6’3, 180-pound left-hander out of Reedley College, Morrison is one of three junior college transfers in this class. During his junior and senior seasons at Albany HS, Morrison helped his varsity baseball team to two Tri-County Athletic League titles, a North Coast Section second-place finish in 2015, and and a North Coast Section quarterfinal appearance in 2016. A two-time all-league team member, Morrison averaged .410 at the plate during his senior season. In 2016, Morrison received the “President’s Award for Educational Excellence” in addition to winning his school’s “Culinary Award”. Morrison was also a two-year varsity letter winner on the cross-country team at Flagstaff HS as a freshman and sophomore, where he won the “Most Inspirational Award” in 2014.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Cooper is a left-handed hitting centerfielder for Reedley College. As a junior transfer, we feel he will add experience to our young roster that we will need moving forward. Cooper is a good fit for us and will compete for a spot right away.”
NATHAN PENG (6-1, 205, RHP/INF, Bats R/Throws R, Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga HS ’18)
The 6-1, 205-pound right-hander out of Saratoga, Calif., earned all-league accolades as a sophomore and junior and was also voted MVP by his teammates in 2017. Peng averaged .304 with nine doubles as a sophomore, and .468 with 14 doubles and three home runs as a junior. A multi-sport athlete, Peng also played water polo as a freshman and football as a sophomore for Saratoga HS. In the classroom, Peng has garnered a 3.7 GPA during his academic career.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Nathan is another one of those versatile players. He has really come along in his primarily role as a high school catcher and he swings the bat very well. But he also started pitching this past year, so his is a guy that can help us both on the mound and behind the plate. Again, a versatile guy, which is always good to have on a roster of 35.
JALEN SMITH (6-0, 180, INF, Bats R/Throws R, Bakersfield, Calif. / Stockdale HS ’18)
A six-foot, 180-pound right-hander from Bakersfield, Calif., Smith is in his fourth varsity season at Stockdale HS. Smith helped his team to two Southwest Yosemite League titles in 2016 and 2017 in addition to an appearance in the Central Section semifinals as a junior. He averaged .359 at the plate as a sophomore and .455 as a junior, earning both all-area and all-league accolades in 2016 and 2017. The 2016 Channel 23 Baseball-Athlete of the Week recipient and three-year varsity football letter winner, threw for 1,634 passing yards and 16 touchdowns during his senior season.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Jalen is a player that we’ve seen quite a bit of over the last three years. He’s a very good athlete, playing second base on his team as well as quarterback on the football team. He’s the type of athlete that can play all over the baseball field. We were very fortunate to get him early and we’re looking forward to him making an impact for us as a freshman.”
JUSTIN SMITH (6-0, 190, RHP, Roseville, Calif. / Woodcreek HS / Yuba College)
The 6-0, 190-pound right-handed pitcher appeared in 16 games and struck out 26 during his first year at Yuba College. Smith led the Golden State collegiate league in saves and earned all-league accolades for his efforts as a relief pitcher. A four-year varsity letter winner for Woodcreek HS, Smith helped his team to Sierra Foothill League wins during his freshman and sophomore seasons. Also a standout in the classroom, Smith maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.75 throughout his high school career.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Justin is another junior college transfer out of Yuba College. We believe Justin will help shore up our pitching staff that will need some experience going forward. He’s a very good right-handed pitcher and, again, a guy that we believe has a chance to make an impact right away.”
WYATT TUCKER (6-1, 200, RHP, Blue Lake, Calif. / Arcata HS ’16 / College of San Mateo)
A 6-1, 200-pound, right-handed pitcher from the College of San Mateo, Tucker rounds out the group of junior college transfers for the class. As a four-year varsity letter winner at Arcata HS, Tucker set a school record of 110 strikeouts across 80 innings pitched. The Humboldt/Del-Norte All-Conference honoree (2014) and two-time league MVP (2015, 2016), helped his team to a league title (2016) and Arcata HS’ first ever section title (2016) during his senior season.
Says Coach Vaughn: “Wyatt Tucker will come to us out of the College of San Mateo, perennially one of the top junior college programs in the state. We recruited Wyatt a little bit out of high school and watched him closely during his first season at the College of San Mateo. Wyatt is a very good student and we feel very lucky to have gotten him. Again, another athlete that we feel will step in right away and help us.”
CADE WESOLOWSKY (6-5, 200, RHP, San Diego, Calif. / La Jolla Country Day School ’18)
A 6-5, 200-pound, right-hander out of San Diego, Calif., Wesolowsky is the lone Southern California signee in the class. A four-year varsity letter winner for La Jolla Country Day School, Wesolowsky averaged .300 at the plate, garnered a 1.50 ERA, and was named to the Coastal League’s All-Academic Team as a junior in 2017. Wesolowsky also competed for three years with the San Diego Slam Club team, where he was the recipient of his team’s “Most Improved” award, served as team captain, and was named to the all-tournament team. An AP Scholar and four-year honor roll member, Wesolowsky was also a robotics semifinalist for La Jolla Country Day School.
Says Coach Vaughn: “We’re very excited about getting a San Diego native into the program. Cade is guy that has really matured over the past year and has gotten a lot stronger. He was really impressive to watch this past summer and fall. If he continues on the path he’s on right now, we really think he can step in and be an impact guy right away as a freshman.”
2018 UC Davis Baseball Early Signees
Name (HT, WT, POS, B/T, Hometown / Previous School)
Jacob Jordan (6-0, 185, RHP, R/R, Elk Grove, Calif. / Elk Grove HS ’18)
Nolan Meredith (5-10, 165, RHP/INF, R/R, Atascadero, Calif., Atascadero HS ’18)
Cooper Morrison (6-3, 180, OF, L/L, El Cerrito, Calif. / Albany HS ’16 / Reedley College)
Nathan Peng (6-1, 205, RHP/INF, R/R, Saratoga, Calif. / Saratoga HS ’18)
Jalen Smith (6-0, 180, INF, R/R, Bakersfield, Calif., Stockdale HS ’18)
Justin Smith (6-0, 190, RHP, Roseville, Calif. / Woodreek HS / Yuba College)
Wyatt Tucker (6-1, 200, RHP, Blue Lake, Calif. / Arcata HS ’16 / College of San Mateo)
Cade Wesolowsky (6-5, 200, RHP, San Diego, Calif., La Jolla Country Day School ’18)
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