With a new pitching coach now on board in Mat Keplinger, the University of San Francisco has added two experienced and versatile right-handed pitchers out of the College of Marin.
On Wednesday morning, the Dons announced the signings of Michael Benz and Nick Roth, who combined for 76 appearances with the Mariners during their two-year careers there. Benz and Roth struck out 8.2 per nine innings, with strikeouts-to-walks ratios of over 2.5-to-1 for their junior college careers.
“We are very excited to have both Benz and Roth in our program here at USF,” head coach Nino Giarratano said in a release. “It has always been a goal of ours to do a great job of recruiting locally. Coach (Steve) Berringer has done a wonderful job at College of Marin.”
Benz prepped at Larkspur-Redwood, where he was an all-league pitcher and posted a 1.92 ERA with two saves in 18 appearances as a senior in 2017. Mainly a reliever at College of Marin, Benz recorded six saves in 23 appearances in 2019, tallying 68 strikeouts in 63 innings with a 3.71 ERA. He walked only 18 while posting a near-4-to-1 strikeouts-to-walks ratio.
Roth was a two-sport athlete at San Anselmo-Drake, lettering three years in baseball and in football. A two-way player on the diamond, Roth was a first-team all-league pitcher and third baseman as a senior in 2017. He hit .347 over his final two prep seasons, stealing 19 bases.
His junior and senior seasons, he had ERAs of 1.01 and 0.78, striking out a total of 154 in those two seasons. As a senior, he went 9-3 with seven complete games, fanning 92 in 81 innings as a senior, with only 19 walks. Roth helped lead the Pirates to a Marin County Athletic League title and a CIF North Coast Section Division III championship in 2017.
At Marin, Roth recorded 10 saves in 2018 as a freshman for the Bay Valley Conference-champion Mariners. He was moved to the starting rotation last season, where he posted a 3.19 ERA and better-than-4-to-1 strikeouts-to-walk ratio with 82 Ks against only 20 walks in 79 innings.
“Both Benz and Roth will create strong depth for our pitching staff,” Giarratano said. “We see both as great contributors this upcoming spring.”