(MSUB Athletics release)
BILLINGS – Announcing the addition of three more players for the 2019-20 academic year on Friday, Montana State University Billings baseball head coach Aaron Sutton introduced the latest additions to next year’s roster.
Nate Bloxham of South Jordan, Utah, and Will Riley of Lismore, Australia, will transfer to MSUB next year after spending their first two seasons at Miles Community College in Miles City. They will be joined by Xavier Ulrich of Vancouver, Washington, who is currently in his senior year at Columbia River High School.
The three latest signings join a group of nine players who were announced on November 19, bringing MSUB’s total recruiting class for next season to 12 players.
2019 MSUB Baseball Recruiting Class
Player Position Hometown High School
Nate Bloxham Outfielder/Catcher South Jordan, UT Bingham High School/Miles CC
Luke Bucher Infielder/Pitcher Seattle, WA Bishop Blanchet High School
Koby Croft Middle Infielder Billings, MT Billings West High School
Trey Lauren Pitcher Monroe, WA Monroe High School
Mason Powell Infielder/Outfielder Gillette, WY Thunder Basin High School
Will Riley Infielder Lismore, Australia Trinity Catholic College/Miles CC
Hunter Runion Pitcher/Outfielder Silverton, OR Silverton High School
Logan Siblerud Pitcher Kalispell, MT Flathead High School
Randy Stultz Infielder Bigfork, MT Bigfork High School
Nolan Thebiay Pitcher/Outfielder Wilsonville, OR Wilsonville High School
Xavier Ulrich Catcher/Third Baseman Vancouver, WA Columbia River High School
Michael Zaske Pitcher Billings, MT Billings Central Catholic High School
South Jordan, Utah
5-11 – Outfielder/Catcher
Intended Major: Coaching
Bloxham ranked first or second on Miles Community College’s team as a freshman in most offensive categories, including a stellar .377 batting average with 61 hits in 162 at-bats. He played 53 of 54 games, and led the team with 60 RBIs thanks in large part to a team-high seven triples and a team second-best five home runs. Bloxham was also the team’s leader with 16 stolen bases, and he had an on-base percentage of .456 with a team-best slugging percentage of .623. Bloxham was a first-team all-Region IX selection.
Prior to attending Miles CC, Bloxham played baseball at Bingham High School in his home town of South Jordan, Utah, for four seasons.
Coach Sutton on Bloxham: “Nate brings a lot to the table for our club next year. He is a very mature hitter who really fits into our offensive philosophy. He has shown the ability to hit with power to all fields, and could be a middle of the order threat. Defensively, Nate can play multiple positions which will help in creating a flexible lineup day-in and day-out.”
Bloxham on choosing MSUB: “I felt that MSUB’s coaching staff and baseball program fit me the best. I am excited to play at MSUB.”
6-1 – Infielder
Intended Major: Coaching
Riley tore up the competition last year at MCC, leading the team with an eye-popping .442 batting average in 172 at-bats. He racked up 76 hits, including a dozen doubles and a pair of home runs. He also scored 54 runs, drove in 42, and drew 18 walks while striking out just 17 times. Playing 52 of 54 games as a freshman, he reached base at a clip of .505 and posted a slugging percentage of .558. Riley’s incredible numbers earned him first-team all-Region IX honors.
Prior to his time at Miles, Riley attended Trinity Catholic College in his home town of Lismore, Australia. He is from the same city as former Yellowjacket Michael Gahan, who followed a similar path in transferring to MSUB after two years at Miles CC. Gahan completed his MSUB career in the spring of 2018, helping the team to its third Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season title in the last four years.
Coach Sutton on Riley: “Will is a very versatile infielder who can play all three spots. His energy is second-to-none, and he brings it every pitch. At the plate, Will shows great discipline and works a lot of quality at-bats as a hitter. He had a tremendous season last year at MCC, and we expect Will to come in and help our club right away.”
Riley on choosing MSUB: “I feel as if these coaches best suit my talents, and I am excited to see how they can improve my game.”
6-0 – Catcher/Third Baseman
Intended Major: Undecided
Ulrich still has one season of prep baseball ahead of him, but has already put together a decorated resume at Columbia River High School. He was a first-team all-WIAA selection as a designated hitter last spring, and he played in the Pacific Northwest all-star game. In 2018 he batted .450, while earning his third varsity letter with the Chieftains. Ulrich also played football for two seasons as a linebacker during his prep career.
Coach Sutton on Ulrich: “Mentality and a knack for making things happen is what really caught our attention in Xavier. He is a dirt bag ball player who does all the little things that make your club better. He has a chance to be a difference maker behind the dish and will mesh very well with the pitching staff.”
Ulrich on choosing MSUB: “I chose MSUB because I really loved everything that the coaching staff is about. I feel like what they do with their guys now will push me to my best ability, and make me a great ballplayer. I also chose MSUB because the culture was too amazing to pass up. I am really looking forward to these next four years as a Yellowjacket.”
MSUB’s baseball team won its third GNAC regular-season title in the last four years in 2018, going 33-18 overall and establishing the school record for wins in a season. The 2019 campaign begins on February 9-10 with a three-game series at Colorado School of Mines. A complete 2019 MSUB baseball schedule can be found online.