NIGHTHAWKS DECLAW STEEPLECATS
Date: Jul 21, 2018
Written by Mike Glennon
Director of Broadcasting and Media
SANFORD – The Sanford Mainers are thrilled to announce a trio of talent from Texas Christian University, who are sure to make an immediate impact this summer, as the newest members of the 2018 Mainers Roster. Redshirt-sophomore Connor Shepherd adds his Power 5 Conference talent to an already stout infield, while junior Johnny Rizer and freshman Brad Czerniejewski will patrol the outfield of Goodall Park.
Shepherd, an Upland, Calif. native, is finishing up his first year playing for the Horned Frogs after a one year stint at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, Calif. The versatile infielder has become a mainstay in the TCU line up this season starting 45 of his 46 appearances.
Shepherd has tallied 32 hits along with 19 RBIs, 22 runs scored, six doubles and is third on the team with five home runs. He has been solid all year at third base for the Horned Frogs as he has racked up 67 assists to accompany 32 putouts and has a .900 fielding percentage.
In his one season at Mt. San Antonio College Shepherd hit .314 with 17 extra base hits, 31 RBIs, three home runs and nine stolen bases.
Shepherd first garnered serious attention from Division I schools as a senior at Upland High School when he hit .440 and racked up 27 RBIs on his way to being named All-Conference. Shepherd should fit right in with the Mainers infield and will add another left handed hitter into the lineup.
Rizer also did a bit of traveling around the collegiate landscape before finding his true home at TCU. After starting his collegiate career at University of Louisiana-Lafayette, the Cypress, Texas native decided to head closer to home and spent a year at Blinn College in Brenham, Texas.
After a sensational in 2017 at Blinn College that put him on TCU’s map, Rizer has earned a lot of playing time and has been able to contribute well in his first season as a Horned Frog.
Rizer has played in 33 games this season making 26 starts and has racked up 22 hits, 16 runs scored, a pair of home runs, 11 RBIs and an on base percentage of just under .350.
As good as he has hit the ball, Rizer has been just as good, if not better, in the field with 60 putouts and a perfect fielding percentage as he has yet to commit an error.
During his one season at Blinn College Rizer put up some gaudy numbers that included a .354 batting average with 44 RBIs on 27 extra base hits as he led the team in triples and was second with 11 home runs.
As a three-year varsity member at Cy-Fair High School in Cypress, Rizer was a career .355 hitter with 12 home runs and even earned a Perfect Game All-American honorable mention as a senior. Rizer should add a nice left handed punch to the Mainers line up this summer.
Czerniejewski, a Lake Forest, Ill. native, turned a fantastic high school career into a chance to head to Fort Worth and play for one of the best teams in the country.
The freshman Horned Frog has not seen the field in his freshman season in an upperclassmen-laden outfield but is sure to make an impact when he does. The good news for Mainers fans is that he will be fresh and raring to go when he gets to Sanford.
The young outfielder hit .391 for his career at Lake Forest High School with eight home runs and 53 stolen bases. His success did not go unnoticed as it earned him All-State, All-Region honors and even a spot on the All-USA Today Illinois Baseball Second Team.
Less than three weeks remain until the Mainers home opener against the Vermont Mountaineers on June 6.