EAST LANSING, Mich. - Michigan State baseball head coach Jake Boss announced the addition of right-handed pitcher Blake Higgins (Mt. Pleasant, Mich./Jackson CC) and shortstop Johnny Nate (Stevensville, Mich./Lakeshore Stevensville) to the 2014 baseball roster. Higgins and Nate will join eight other incoming student-athletes, bringing the class to 10 newcomers.
Higgins and Nate will be joined by Walter Borkovich (Traverse City, Mich./Traverse City West Senior High School), Dan Durkin (Tinley Park, Ill./Victor J. Andrew High School), Jonah Heim (Amherst, N.Y./Amherst Central High School), Seth Johnson (Gobles, Mich./Gobles High School), Jake Lowery (Highland, Mich./Hartland High School), Dakota Mekkes (Jenison, Mich./Jenison High School), Connor Mohr (Farmington, Mich./Farmington High School) and Andrew Sabrosky (Holt, Mich./Holt High School).
"We are excited about this class," head coach Jake Boss said. "We feel that it addressed our needs and it's a balanced class. We have some guys that may have decisions to make with regards to pro baseball but we've had that in the past. We've had six guys drafted out of high school and every one has come to Michigan State. They all value a degree and we are excited about getting all of them."
Below is a look at both athletes accomplishment:
Blake Higgins • Mt. Pleasant, Mich. • Mt. Pleasant/Jackson Community College • 6-5 • 220 • R/R • RHP
Four-year letterwinner under Luke Epple at Mt. Pleasant High School . . . Was named captain as a senior in 2010 . . . Earned first-team All-Saginaw Valley and first-team all-area honors as a senior and second-team All-Saginaw Valley and all-area honors as a junior . . . Finished his career with a 26-8 record . . . Went 9-4 with a 1.89 ERA in 75 1/3 innings of work as a senior . . . Struck out 86 batters and threw seven complete games . . . Enrolled at Central Michigan and did not compete in 2011 . . . Pitched his summer team, the Central Michigan Stars to the championship of the Paomino World Series in Compton, Calif. . . . Higgins received three distinct honors for his participation in the summer tournament; the ERA award (for not allowing a run in the tournament), the Best Pitcher Award and the Most Valuable Player in the Tournament . . . Transferred to Jackson Community College in 2011 . . . Was the top arm for the Jets in 2012, pitching 81 innings . . . Compiled a 7-6 Record and has a 3.98 ERA . . . Struck out 95 batters and walked just 40 . . . is eligible to compete immediately at MSU.
PERSONAL: Born on April 26, 1992 . . . son of Mike Higgins and Wendy Epple . . . plans to major in marketing.
"He is a hard-thrower," Boss said. "He has improved greatly since high school. He's made a significant jump and can come in and pitch right away for us and get a lot of people out. He's been in the low to mid-90's. He is an extremely athletic kid and is a very good student."
Johnny Nate • Stevensville, Mich. • Stevensville Lakeshore • 5-10 • 175 • R/R • SS
Four-year letterwinner under head coach and father Mark Nate at Stevensville Lakeshore . . . Named to the All-SMAC West last three years . . . Also garnered all-district recognition the last two seasons . . . Batted .359 and had four home runs as a junior . . . Had six home runs and batted .289 as a sophomore . . . As a freshman, hit .379 with one home run . . . Also is the played quarterback for the Lancers football team . . . Earned all-state honors in football in 2013 . . . Was named to the All-SMAC West quarterback in 2012 and 2013 . . . Choose Michigan State over Grand Valley and Central Arizona.
PERSONAL: Born July 18, 1994 . . . son of Mark and JoAnn Nate . . . plans to major in business . . . Uncle, Jeff Nate, was drafted in the seventh round in 1979 by the Philadelphia Phillies.
"Johnny is a very athletic kid," Boss said. "He was a quarterback on the football team and is an extremely hard worker. We've watched Johnny grow from his freshman year. It’s been fun to watch him improve and get better. His arm strength has been good and he plays hard. He knows the game better than most and comes from good bloodlines. He will definitely compete for a spot in the infield next year."