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The Generals Bunch

May 20, 2014 – The Victoria Generals of the Texas Collegiate League have added six players to their roster as opening day draws near. The following players are:  Matthew Burks and Blake Cooper from Eastern New Mexico University, Chris Jones from Incarnate Word, Miles Manning from McLennan Community College, C.J. Pickering from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and Brian Portelli from Florida International University.


“We are excited to have added some incredible power to our line-up with the addition of Burks and Cooper,” stated Mike Yokum, the vice president and general manager of the Victoria Generals.  “These guys finished the season first and second in the Lone Star Conference in home runs with 18 home runs between them this season.”


Matthew Burks, a junior outfielder, led the conference with 10 home runs in 2014. He finished up the season playing in 49 games, hit .384 with 32 RBI's, 23 extra base hits, a .456 on base percentage and a .627 slugging percentage. Burks hit in the leadoff spot all season and set the table for Blake Cooper who hit in the clean-up spot.  Burks was named to the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association first team All-South Central Regional Team.


Burks, a native of Vacaville, CA, spent the prior two seasons at Diablo Valley College in Pleasant Hill, CA where he hit .313 with 30 RBI's, nine doubles, three triples and seven stolen bases in 2012. He was a 2012 honorable mention Big 8 Conference Selection and a Big 8 Gold Glove winner in 2011.


Blake Cooper, a redshirt junior outfielder/1B, played in 48 games, hit .307 with 39 RBI's, 25 extra base hits, a .457 on-base percentage and a .600 slugging percentage. Cooper finished up the season with eight home runs which was good for second in the Lone Star Conference behind teammate Burks.  Cooper was also selected to the NCBWA All-South Central Regional Team.


Cooper, a native of Long Beach, CA,  played two seasons at Golden West College where he hit .339 with a team high 42 hits and an on-base percentage of .458 in 2012.


Chris Jones, a left-handed freshman from University of the Incarnate Word, made 13 appearances with 15.2 innings of work and an ERA of 5.74. Jones was well known in the area last season as a senior at Hallettsville High School as he helped lead the team to the 2A State Championship.  Jones finished up the season with a perfect 9-0 record under head coach Shorty Cook, a former assistant coach for the Victoria Generals in 2011 and 2012.

Miles Manning, a Victoria native from McLennan Community College, joins the Generals as a middle infielder.  On the season, Manning appeared in 42 games, hit .330 with 21 RBI's and an on-base percentage of .403. Manning also appeared in eight games as a right-handed pitcher throwing 7.2 innings, striking out 12 while walking only one batter.


Manning was a standout at Victoria West High School as a senior. Manning appeared in 25 games, hit .507 with 27 RBI's, an on-base percentage of .624 and a remarkable .884 slugging percentage.  On the mound, Manning compiled a 9-2 record with a 2.31 ERA in 57 innings of work.


"We are excited to have both Chris and Miles on the Generals this season, "commented Yokum. “Local fans and family will have an opportunity to come out and see how these fine young men have developed into solid collegiate athletes."


C.J. Pickering, a freshman infielder for UTSA, has appeared in 55 games this season for the Roadrunners.  Last season, as a senior at Westside High School in Houston, Pickering led the team in hitting with a .472 batting average with five home runs and 38 RBI’s.  More impressive is that C.J. graduated with a 4.4 GPA and was named as a National AP scholar and received the HISD Board of Education Award.


Brian Portelli, a junior outfielder from Florida International University, has appeared in 38 games, hit .344 with 11 RBI’s, two home runs and an on-base percentage of .411 on the season.  Portelli has also been solid defensively with no errors on the season.


Portelli, a native of Birmingham, MI, spent the past two seasons at Grand Rapids Community College hitting .384 with 44 RBI’s as a freshman. Portelli followed that up by hitting .325 his sophomore campaign with three home runs and 34 RBI’s


“Things are really shaping up nicely for the Generals this season with a solid roster, “commented Yokum. “With the season less than two weeks away, I feel confident that we will continue the winning tradition that Generals fans have become accustom to.”


Season tickets for the Victoria Generals 2014 season are on sale now as the Generals prepare for their home opener against the Texas Marshals on Tuesday, June 3 at 7:35pm at Riverside Stadium.  Fans can buy season tickets and team merchandise at the Generals team store located at 1307 East Airline Road, Suite H in the Town & Country Shopping Center, online at www.VictoriaGenerals.com, or by calling 361-485-9522.

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