02/02/2017 2:01 PM
Northridge players again heading to Yakima
YAKIMA, Wash. – A right-handed pitcher and an outfielder from Cal State Northridge will join the Pippins this summer, extending the two teams’ player partnership into a fourth season.
Sophomore outfielder Michael Russo, who played sparingly for the Matadors in 2016 as a redshirt freshman before being granted a medical hardship redshirt, is high on manager Marcus McKimmy’s radar this year.
“2017 is going to be Michael Russo’s coming-out party,” the Pippins skipper said. “He is ready to hit the ground running for CSUN this spring (after his redshirts) … (and) he can really hit. I don’t put a lot of stock in preseason numbers, but for Michael to lead their team in hitting through the fall is very encouraging.
“Michael will bring an element of leadership and maturity to our clubhouse that is essential to any successful team,” McKimmy said of the 6-foot-1, 215-pound left-handed hitter.
Incoming freshman right-hander Kyle Nicol was named Pacific League Player of the Year while playing for John Burroughs High School in Burbank, Calif., and leading his team to 19 wins and a share of the Pacific League championship as a senior in 2016.
“Kyle is a hybrid of (former Pippins and Gonzaga pitchers) Eli Morgan and Wyatt Mills – don’t let his size and physical presence fool you,” McKimmy said of the 5-foot-8, 150-pounder. “He will come at you from full submarine angles and just get you out. He will have a major role on our pitching staff, and I’m excited to find out where that will be.”
The CSUN-Pippins pipeline started in 2014. The Matadors, who have won at least 30 games each of the past two seasons, have sent strong players to Yakima each year, most recently infielder Fred Smith and pitcher Drake Atlee in 2016.
“It’s no coincidence that we’ve had multiple CSU-Northridge players represented in Pippins uniforms every summer in Yakima,” McKimmy said. “I’m so excited that for the fourth summer our fans and community get to experience representatives from Coach Greg Moore’s program. In addition to being the pitching coach for 18U Team USA baseball the last two summers, Moore is a phenomenal teacher of young men and top 1 percent leader. Our community will again benefit from having these players here as much as they will grow being in Yakima.”
The Pippins will host Victoria, British Columbia, on Friday, June 2, in the 2017 season opener, presented by Legends Casino. On July 18, the Pippins will host the West Coast League All-Star Game, which will showcase the top talent from the summer league’s 11 teams in the Northwest. Season tickets and ticket mini plans – which include tickets to the All-Star Game -- are available for purchase at Hunky Shaw’s Team Shop, 12 S. Second St. in the historic Larson Building in downtown Yakima. Ticket packages also can be purchased by calling 509-575-4487 or online at pippinsbaseball.com.