UIC Baseball Inks Five Newcomers for 2015 Season
Dec. 4, 2013
CHICAGO – UIC Head Baseball Coach Mike Dee announced the signing of five newcomers to the Flames’ 2015 squad on Wednesday afternoon. The signees include Trevor Lane (LHP/OF, 5-11, 185), Jake Dahlberg (LHP, 6-1, 205), Connor Rolain (OF, 6-0, 200), Rob Calabrese (C, 6-1, 205) and Austin Batka (LHP, 5-10, 150).
“We’re very excited about his incoming group,” said Dee. “Sean McDermott and John Flood did an outstanding job of recruiting and I want to thank them for their hard work. Most of these guys have the potential to compete for starting spots as soon as they walk in the door and that will only make us a better ball club.”
Lane (North Bend, Wash./Mount Si) will have two years of eligibility with UIC after spending his freshman season at Campbell University and his sophomore year at Lower Columbia Community College. The 2012 Gatorade Washington State Player of the Year had a decorated high school career with two first-team All-State selections and a class 3A state title during his junior season. In 2010 and 2011, he was named to the National Underclassmen High Honorable Mention All-American list. He posted a 7-1 record on the mound during his senior campaign with 72 strikeouts in just 48.1 innings and an ERA of 2.01. From the plate in 2012, Lane batted .444 with nine doubles, 25 runs and 24 RBI.
At Campbell, Lane started 25 games in the field and made nine appearances on the mound. He posted a .279 season batting average and recorded seven multi-hit games. Lane also fanned 18 batters over 17.1 innings of work, holding opponents to a .213 batting clip.
“I would expect Trevor to be an impact player right away for UIC,” said Lower Columbia Head Coach Eddie Smith. “We hope for big things from Trevor this season. He is very talented and I know he has a bright future in baseball.”
Dahlberg (Vancouver, Wash./Heritage) will have sophomore status when he joins the Flames after exhausting one year of eligibility at Mt. Hood Community College. Dahlberg was a three-sport athlete at Heritage High School in Vancouver, Wash., starring in football, basketball and baseball. From the mound, Dalhberg has earned All-State and All-League honors at Heritage. He is expected to both pitch and bat for the Saints this season.
“Jake is a guy who will keep improving,” said Mt. Hood Head Coach Bryan Donohue. “He used to be a very raw player, but his game has been refined quite a bit over the last year and you can really start to see his potential. He has an easy, fluid arm action and will continue to get better. Jake works extremely hard and has a good head on his shoulders.”
Rolain comes to UIC with an impressive list of accolades from his high school career at Appleton North in both baseball and football. The two-sport standout has been starting for both programs since his freshman year, becoming the first player in school history to do so. In baseball, Rolain earned All-Area and All-Conference honors in both his sophomore and junior seasons, while hitting .422 and .392, respectively. He was also selected to play for Team Wisconsin both seasons and will serve his second term as team captain. In football, Rolain is a two-time first-team All-Region corner back and was recently awarded with prestigious Jim Leonhard award, given to the most outstanding defensive back in the state of Wisconsin. The three-time All-Conference player was also named to the WFCA All-State first team as well.
“Connor is of the highest quality,” said Appleton North Head Coach David Eagan. “He is the kind of player that will never coast through practice and will always give you 100 percent effort. He has been great in helping our underclassmen learn the game, which speaks to his leadership ability. I know he has won numerous individual awards, but at the end of the day he would rather see his team succeed.”
Calabrese will serve his second term as team captain for Poly Prep County Day in 2014 as they attempt to collect their fourth consecutive New York state title. Calabrese is a two-time All-Conference catcher with tremendous speed, stealing 21 bases last season. He also totaled a batting average of .345 and drove in 33 RBI in 2013.
“Rob is undoubtedly our team captain,” said Poly Prep County Day Head Coach Matt Roventini. “His knowledge of baseball is unsurpassed by anyone else on the team and he is an incredible athlete. We’ve had several pro scouts come to watch him play so I think that is a testament to his potential.”
Batka (Grand Rapids, Mich./Grand Rapids Christian) helped guide the Eagles to back-to-back Michigan D-II state titles his sophomore and junior seasons. The hard-throwing leftie was named All-Conference and All-District after a stellar junior year in which Batka compiled a 7-5 record and struck out an impressive 116 batters in just 69.2 innings of work. He totaled an ERA of 1.34 and allowed a mere 35 hits all season.
“Austin is an extremely talented left-handed pitcher and competes at a very high level,” said Grand Rapids Christian Head Coach Brent Gates. “Austin has a swing and miss fastball with a very high ceiling and he played an integral role in helping us win back-to-back state championships.”
Coach Gates, a first round MLB draft pick in 1991, played for UIC Head Coach Mike Dee at the University of Minnesota when Dee was serving as the Gopher’s pitching coach.
The Flames kick off the 2014 season in Beaumont, Texas on Feb. 14-16 for two games against Marist and a pair of tilts versus Lamar before heading to Vanderbilt for a three-game stretch on Feb. 21.