TUESDAY, MAY 16, 2006
Baseball announces signing of RHP Chris Rusler

May 16, 2006

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The JU baseball team announced the signing of pitcher Chris Rusler of Hutchinson Community College on Tuesday.

Rusler (5-10, 185), a native of Norman, Okla., spent the past two seasons at Hutchison (Kan.) CC where he lead the Dragons to a combined 80-34 record and a spot in the Junior College World Series in 2005. As a sophomore, he finished with a 6-0 record and a 1.62 ERA in seven starts, while also tallying 45 strikeouts and a .193 opponent batting average in 39.0 innings. As a freshman, he went 2-1 with a 3.80 ERA while also serving as a utility infielder.

"We're excited to bring in a player like Chris to our program," said JU head coach Terry Alexander. "He brings a wealth of experience and a winning attitude to the staff. We are looking for him to make an immediate impact for us next season."

A four-year starter at Norman North (Okla.) High School, Rusler set the school record for career wins (26) while also representing Team USA in the Goodwill Games in 2003 and 2004. As a senior, he finished 6-3 with a 2.70 ERA while also batting .343 from the plate. As a junior, he earned first team all-conference and second team all-state accolades after finishing 10-3 with a 1.80 and batting .370. As a sophomore, Rusler was named first team all-conference after going 8-2 with a 2.10 ERA and a .330 batting average. His win total was the most by a sophomore player in school history. As a freshman, he set the school record for games played while posting a 2-1 record, two saves and a .300 batting average. In club play, he led his under-17 squad to a second-place finish in nationals (2003) after earning the national title with the under-16 squad in 2002.

"Chris has a chance to bring immediate stability to our pitching staff next year," said recruiting coordinator/pitching coach Tim Montez. "He has plus command of three pitches and possesses an above average curve ball. His biggest strength is his competitive spirit and overall mound presence. He should compete for one of our starting jobs or be one of our main guys out of the bullpen."

The signing concluded the first recruiting class under Montez. Before joining the Dolphins after a three-year stint with Fresno State, Montez had nine nationally ranked recruiting classes in 12 years as a recruiting coordinator.

Rusler joins local products RHP Carson Andrew and shortstop Chuck Opachich of Episcopal High School, Glenn Witkowski (Pembroke Pines, Fla.), shortstop/RHP Matt Gardner (Livermore, Calif.), catcher Alex Swenson (Alexandria, Va.) and RHP Jason Hooper (Lake Mills, Wis.) who joined the program during the fall.