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Temple Baseball Coach Announces the Names of the 2008 Recruiting Class

Three freshman and two transfers highlight late signees

Aug. 21, 2007

PHILADELPHIA - Temple baseball head coach Rob Valli is pleased to announce the addition of five student-athletes for the 2008 season. The quintet is comprised of three incoming freshman and a pair of transfers, including a high school All-American. 1B Ben Flanary, LHP Mike Mongiardini, RHP Steve Nikorak, INF Mark Ortega and C Zach Pettis will make their debut in the Cherry and White in 2008.

"We're very proud of our entire recruiting class," Valli said. "A lack of depth was our Achilles heel in 2007 and now we've added depth at every position."

Flanary (Marlton, NJ / Cherokee) was a second team all-New Jersey Group IV pick by the Newark Star-Ledger after leading South Jersey with 11 home runs. He batted .319 and set a school record with 49 RBI to earn first team All-South Jersey honors from the Camden Courier-Post and second team All-South Jersey from the Philadelphia Inquirer. A 6-6 first baseman, Flanary led the Chiefs to a 24-5 record and the Olympic Conference American Division title. He was also 4-2 with a 1.34 ERA on the mound.

"Ben is a potent offensive player who has the potential to be a productive hitter in the middle of our lineup in the years to come," Valli said.

Mongiardini (Toms River, NJ / Toms River East / Yale), whose brother Matt will be a junior pitcher at Temple next season, missed his senior year at Yale due to Tommy John surgery. In 2006, the southpaw went 1-3 with a 3.82 ERA in eight starts for the Bulldogs. Mongiardini fanned 32 batters in 37.1 innings and held opponents to a .254 batting average, tops among Yale starters. A two-time all-state pick at Toms River East HS, he will enroll in Temple's graduate school.

"Mike is just what our pitching staff needs," Valli said. "He is an experienced starter who does all the things a pitcher needs to do in order to win games."

Nikorak (Stroudsburg, PA / Stroudsburg) was a two-time Player of the Year by the Pocono Record. This past season, the right-hander went 5-3 with a 3.47 ERA and batted .406 with 30 RBI to help Stroudsburg HS to the Mountain Valley Conference championship. A two-time Carpenter Cup selection, Nikorak was a three-year starter in football and a two-year starter in basketball.

"Steve is an outstanding athlete who will benefit from being a baseball player year round," Valli said.

Ortega (Palm Beach Gardens, FL / Palm Beach Gardens / Boston College) arrives in Owl Country after two seasons at Boston College. An AFLAC High School All-American at Palm Beach Gardens High School (Florida), Ortega was also a member of the US Under-16 National Team as an infielder. He appeared in seven games for Boston College this season and batted .300 (3-for-10).

"Mark's resume is as good as it gets," Valli said. "He has all the tools to be a special player and we expect him to make an impact."

Pettis (Camp Hill, PA / Cedar Cliff) rounds out the newcomers. A third-team all-area selection at catcher by the Harrisburg Patriot News, Pettis batted .415 for Cedar Cliff High School. He also lettered in football and wrestling.

"Zach is a good catch and throw guy who will add depth to the catching position," Valli said.

The quintet joins five players who committed during the fall signing period: LHP Jordan Cannon (Reading, PA / Exeter Twp.), SS Rafael Cordero (Colonia, NJ / JFK-Iselin), OF Byron McKoy (Charlotte, NC / Independence), RHP Ben White (Coatesville, PA / Coatesville) and INF Steve Young (Spring City, PA / Spring-Ford).