March 21, 2018 | PORTLAND - Today, the Portland Pickles announce the signings of Daniel Budke (1B/OF), Blake Harrison (RHP), and Cory Willis (OF), from Pepperdine University.
DANIEL BUDKE enters his freshman season swinging a big bat, and will haul that same lumber up to Portland this summer. During his three varsity seasons at James E. Taylor High School, Budke posted a career .362 batting average, while scoring 64 runs and swiping 11 bases.
Pepperdine coach Rick Hirtensteiner describes the Texan as “a right-hand hitting, middle of the lineup bat, with power to all fields, while still being a tough out at the plate and having a knack for driving in runs.”
Budke helped lead Taylor High to District Championships in 2014 and 2015, and three straight Texas 6A State Playoff appearances.
BLAKE HARRISON brings another impressive high school resumé to Coach Hirtensteiner’s squad, putting up big numbers both on the mound and at the plate. With a career ERA of 1.80 at San Ramon Valley High in California, Harrison performed just as well in the batter’s box, hitting .381 with five homers.
“Blake is a bulldog on the mound, has good life to his fastball, with a hard breaking ball. Blake attacks hitters, has no fear and is extremely athletic,” said Hirtensteiner of Harrison’s pitching style. “With his speed, arm and athleticism, he can play all 3 outfield positions extremely well.”
Harrison’s 5-tool abilities helped him earn a 2015 and 2016 Underclass Honorable Mention by Perfect Game, and receive an invite to the 2015 Perfect Game Underclass All-American Games.
CORY WILLS transferred to Pepperdine after a stellar sophomore season at Yavapai College, posting breakout numbers with a .384/.463/.680 slash line.
In a mere 84 at bats at Basic High School in Henderson, NV, Wills wreaked havoc for opposing pitchers, hitting .417 with 18 extra base hits and a .524 on base percentage. Despite the school’s name, the team was far from basic, and Wills helped the Wolves reach a #3 state ranking in 2015.
In his first taste of Division I action, Wills has performed well for the Waves, batting a solid .281 through the first 18 games of the season.
“Coach Hirtensteiner runs a great program at Pepperdine,” Rose City Baseball’s Gregg Swenson raves of the Southern California team. “The Waves have sent many a great player to the WCL each summer, and we are looking forward to having three of his players come North and add to that tradition.”
After dropping their first West Coast Conference series against Gonzaga, the Waves will look to bounce back in Los Angeles against Loyola Marymount this weekend.
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