July 8, 2013
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. ---- The UAB baseball program announced the signing of right-handed pitcher Johnny Lieske, a NJCAA Second Team All-America, to a National Letter of Intent to pitch for the Blazers during the 2014 season. Lieske will have two years of eligibility to play at UAB.
Lieske was outstanding on the mound in his lone season at Heartland (Normal, Ill.) Community College, where he earned Midwest Athletic Conference Pitcher of the Year, First Team All-Region and Second Team All-America honors.
"We were looking for a front end of the rotation pitcher and we believe we found him in Johnny Lieske," UAB head coach Brian Shoop said. "He is from Heartland Community College, the home of former Blazer and C-USA Newcomer of the Year Dillon Napoleon. He played for Nate Metzger who continues to prepare players for the next level and Johnny is ready."
At Heartland, Lieske compiled a 9-2 record with a 1.45 ERA in 74.1 total innings on the mound. He surrendered just 39 hits, holding the opposition to a .144 batting average against him. Lieske showcased pinpoint control, walking only 17 batters, while striking out 109 on the season.
Prior to playing at Heartland, Lieske pitched one season at Illinois State.
"Johnny has 'Friday night stuff' and obviously pounds the strike zone striking out 109 batters this year compared to only 17 walks," Shoop said. "Johnny is an All-America caliber arm who we believe will make a big impact in C-USA for us this coming year."
Before pitching at the collegiate ranks, Lieske starred at Harlem High School in Machesney Park, Ill., where he was a three-year starter on the mound. He totaled a career record of 13-8, including a 6-1 record as a sophomore, as Harlem captured the NIC-10 Championship and was named a first team all-conference selection.
At the conclusion of his senior season, Lieske was selected in the 35th round of the Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the Texas Rangers. He opted to sign with Illinois State, where he pitched for one season before toeing the rubber at Heartland CC.
"As good as Johnny Lieske is on the mound, he is even a better person," Shoop said. "He is everything you want in a role model for young people as he makes great decisions both on and off the field. He will be a great addition to the UAB student body as well as the Blazer baseball team. We are thrilled that he will be wearing Green and Gold this coming year."