Baseball adds six players to 2016 signing class
Wednesday, September 28, 2016
By Kirk Downs
Baseball adds six players to 2016 signing class

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Lipscomb baseball team and head coach Jeff Forehand announced on Wednesday the signing of six additional athletes who will join four other 2016-17 recruits on the diamond in February.

“With this group of JUCO guys, it is nice to know we have some experience coming in,” Forehand said. “We were able to sign a few guys that we feel we can plug into some spots where we saw some need. So hopefully with that experience we are expecting them to add some immediate impact to our team this spring.”

The group of players include three right-handed pitchers, a catcher, a middle infielder and an outfielder. Read more about the players below and find what Coach Forehand had to say about each signee.


Joshua Martinez | OF| L/L | 6-1 | 160 | Caguas, Puerto Rico (Caguas Military Academy)

  • Ranked the 10th best outfielder and the 47th best player regardless of position in Puerto Rico by Perfect Game.
  • Drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 39th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
  • Helped his team to a 2016 Puerto Rico Colt League National Championship.
  • Also recruited by UCF, UT-Martin, Jackson State and Yavapai College.
  • His father played baseball professionally.
  • Joshua has two brothers and one sister.
  • Favorite professional athlete is Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins.
  • Plans to major in computer engineering.

“Josh fits the exact build in what we are looking for in a center fielder. He can come in and learn the ropes behind one of the best in Gigs (Michael Gigliotti) in order to give us a solid cushion this year. We expect him to be ready to come in and take over center when his time comes.”


Nicko Ortega | RHP | R/R | 6-4 | 229 | Glendale, Arizona (Yavapai College)

  • 2013 Perfect Game Underclass Honorable Mention All-American
  • 2014 Perfect Game Honorable Mention All-American and Second Team All-West Region.
  • Rated the fifth best RHP and the 13th best player in the state of Arizona as a high school senior in 2014.
  • Originally committed to the University of Arizona before enrolling in Yavapai College.
  • Led the Roughriders to a Junior College World Series National Championship in 2016.
  • As a freshman he led the nation in saves with 13 and finished 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA and 35 Ks in 25.1 innings.
  • Tossed five scoreless frames in the JUCO World Series in 2016.
  • Named to the Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2015 and 2016.
  • Nicko has one sister.
  • Plans to major in Psychology.
  • Also recruited by Arizona, Hawaii, Grand Canyon University and Young Harris College.
  • His favorite movie is Major League.

“When Nico gets on the mound he is really calm and poised and there is not a situation he hasn’t been in. With him having the experience of winning a national championship at Yavapai, it really gives us some excitement for the back end of our bullpen.”


Jake Perry | C | R/R | 6-0 | 197 | Webster Groves, Missouri (Maple Woods CC)

  • Perfect Game rated him the fourth best catcher and the 24th best player in the state of Missouri in 2013.
  • Was named a Central Region Honorable Mention in 2013.
  • Led Maple Woods CC to a Region 16 Championship.
  • Set career highs with a .350 batting average and 14 home runs while with the Monarchs.
  • Originally committed to Valparaiso out of high school.
  • Plans to major in Criminal Justice.
  • His father played baseball at Missouri Baptist.
  • Has one sister.
  • Favorite television show is Boardwalk Empire.

“We lost our starting catcher from last season and we felt that we needed to sign a freshman and an older guy to help solidify our catching corps. We are so excited to have Jake here and we think that with his experience, he will make an impact early.”


Ryan Stevens | RHP | R/R | 5-8 | 184 | Battlefield, Missouri (Maple Woods CC)

  • Ranked the fourth best second baseman and the 24th best player overall in the state of Missouri in 2013.
  • Named 2013 Central Region Honorable Mention by Perfect Game.
  • Helped Maple Woods CC to a Region 16 championship.
  • Chosen as team captain for his Kickapoo High School squad in 2013.
  • Earned All-District honors as a junior and senior.
  • Plans to major in Criminal Justice.
  • Has one brother who also played at Maple Woods CC.
  • Favorite book is Fearless.

“Ryan is another pitcher we picked up late. He is a grinder and we feel he will solidify some areas in our bullpen where we need help. We are looking forward to seeing what kind of impact he will make.”


Blake Thomas | SS | R/R | 5-11 | 161 | Mount Sterling, Kentucky (Cleveland State CC)

  • Named All-District in baseball in 2013 and 2014.
  • Also earned All-Region honors and
  • Picked up three letters in basketball and five in baseball while at Montgomery County High School.
  • Led the Indians to a 29-3 record in basketball in 2014.
  • Graduated high school with a 3.4 GPA.
  • Also recruited by Eastern Kentucky, Morehead State, University of New Orleans and Milligan University among others.
  • His father played baseball at Lees Junior College.
  • Blake has one brother and one sister.
  • Plans to major in Political Science.
  • Favorite professional athlete is Derek Jeter.

“Blake is a middle infielder who is very good defensively and will add some immediate depth to our middle infield. We also feel that with our scheme and our plan he will help us offensively.”


Dayton Tripp | RHP | R/R | 6-3 | 173 | Goreville, Illinois (Rend Lake College)

  • Drafted by the Atlanta Braves in the 38th round of the 2016 MLB Draft.
  • Posted a 10-1 record with a 3.04 ERA in 12 games as a sophomore at Rend Lake College. He logged 64 Ks in 68 frames.
  • As a freshman in 2015 he made nine appearances on the mound with 21 punch outs in 23 innings while going 1-1 with a 5.48 ERA.
  • Played high school ball with former Bison Nick Andros at Goreville High School. Named First Team All-Conference and All-South Region from 2011-2013.
  • Helped the Blackcats to a runner-up finish in 2009-10 and a third place finish in 2010-11 in the Indiana State Championships.
  • Also finished First Team All-Conference and All-South Region member in 2011-13 in basketball.
  • Has one sister.
  • Also recruited by Belmont, Eastern Illinois, Austin Peay and Louisiana Monroe among others.
  • Plans to pursue a degree in Exercise Science.
  • His dad played baseball at Southeast Missouri State and the Kentucky Rifles of the Frontier League.
  • His uncle played basketball for John A. Logan College.
  • Favorite book is The Hunger Games.

“Obviously Dayton is a very solid pickup for us late in the summer. He will add depth to our staff, whether that means as a starter or out of the pen. Whatever role he is for us, we know it will make us better as a team.”

Lipscomb opened fall practice last week and will continue scrimmaging throughout the month of October before hosting the Purple and Gold World Series Oct. 26-28 with game times set tentatively for 3:30 p.m.

Check back for further updates on your Bison Baseball team throughout the fall.