LEXINGTON ? The Kentucky baseball program made a big recruiting splash on Sunday when it signed Lexington native Chaz Roe.

Roe, a standout pitcher and shortstop for coach Chris Langston at Lafayette High School, has been rated as the 35th best prospect in the nation by Baseball America and was invited to the 2004 East Coast Professional Showcase.

“Chaz Roe is among the top high school pitchers in America,” said Kentucky coach John Cohen. “He is a tremendous overall athlete that should be a first round draft pick, either this year or a few years down the line.

“When you break down his tools as a pitcher, he?s the total package. He shows command and has great velocity and movement on his pitches. Because of his athletic ability, he is also able to field his position very well.”

This past year, Roe led Lafayette to the state championship game en route to the All-Tournament team honors. He hurled a one-hitter to beat Heath in the quarterfinal before launching a game-winning two-run home run in the sixth inning of the semifinal to beat Trinity.

“There is no question that he is a kid who loves to compete and he?ll do anything to help his team win,” Cohen said. “That was very evident during tournament time last year when he carried his team.”

On the mound Roe, who stands 6-5, compiled an 8-1 record with a minuscule 0.90 ERA in 61 innings pitched. He struck out 91 batters and allowed opponents to hit just .139.

Offensively, he hit an astounding .421 with 40 runs scored and 44 runs batted in. Among his 45 hits were 29 doubles and six home runs.

“As great an athlete as he is, Chaz?s competitiveness, will to win and passion for the game are even better,” Cohen added. “He will be a tremendous addition to our program.”

Roe was named first-team All-State in 2003 after earning first-team All-District honors the previous two years. He is also a model student, having made the honor roll each year in high school.

Roe comes from an athletic background which has some Big Blue ties. His father, Donald, played football for the Wildcats.

Roe also has outstanding baseball bloodlines. His great uncle is Major League Hall of Fame member Bill Mazeroski, who is most well-known for hitting a walk-off home run in game seven of the 1960 World Series to lift the Pittsburgh Pirates to the championship.

The signing is the first announced by Kentucky for the 2005 class. The 2004 class was recently tabbed as one of the top 25 recruiting classes in the country by Collegiate Baseball.

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