POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Another member of Pearl River's highly successful 2019 baseball team is headed to the next level.
Rising sophomore third baseman Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) has signed with Southern Miss and will transfer immediately.
"He has been a pleasure to watch grow and mature as a player of the last couple of years. I think his work ethic is the reason for his success. He had an incredible freshman year for us and helped us make our run to the World Series," PRCC coach Michael Avalon said. "We would have loved to have him back as a sophomore, but our job here is to develop and help young men achieve their dreams and goals of playing at the next level.
"We wish him well and look forward to following him at Southern Miss."
Izzio made an immediate impact at Pearl River, batting second all season while playing third base. The former Pearl River Central standout and brother of former PRCC pitching coach Anthony Izzio earned a spot on the All-MACJC Second Team after finishing the year with a .332 batting average and .420 on-base percentage. Izzio led the team with 73 hits and 60 runs scored. He also collected 15 doubles, four triples, 10 home runs, 46 RBIs and 10 stolen bases.
"Offense is his niche. He's a young man who should hit for a high average and hit for power," Avalon said. "He does have some versatility, playing third first and the outfield. I think Southern Miss is most excited about his offensive capabilities moving forward."
For Izzio, the opportunity to move to the next level immediately after an All-MACJC freshman campaign was a dream come true.
"It's close to home and they're a winning program," Izzio said. "Wherever they want me to play, I'll play."
Wherever his baseball career takes him, Izzio said his experience at PRCC will always stand out.
"I think the coaching staff was a big part of my decision and career. They definitely know what they're talking about," he said. "Pearl River was the best place for me and the best place in JUCO for sure. When people say they want to go JUCO, I tell 'em Pearl River is the place to be."
NEXT LEVEL PIPELINE
Izzio is the 14th member of the 2019 squad to head to the four-year level — or beyond. Miles Smith (Laurel; Northeast Jones) and Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) signed with South Alabama, Deyton Lingle (Lake) and Reis Trager (Hurley; East Central) signed with Spring Hill, Matt Taylor (Raleigh) signed with Southeastern Louisiana, Shemar Page (Raleigh) signed with Louisiana Tech, Luke Harper (Meridian; Northeast Lauderdale) signed with North Alabama, Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.), Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) and Magruder O'Bannon (Gulfport; St. Stanislaus) signed with William Carey, Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy) signed with Louisiana-Monroe, and Trenton Lee (Picayune) signed with West Alabama.
Additionally, Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg) was selected by the Houston Astros in the 14th round of the MLB Draft and opted to turn pro.
Izzio won't be the lone Wildcat at USM for long as fellow rising sophomore Reece Ewing verbally committed to the Golden Eagles following PRCC's run to the NJCAA D-II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma. Ewing, who plays in the outfield and pitches, will remain at PRCC for the 2020 season before transferring.