Edwardsville Tigers senior right-hander Trey Riley has given a verbal commitment to Oklahoma State, where the coach is Josh Holliday, the brother of St. Louis Cardinals all-star outfielder Matt Holliday. Riley made the announcement on Twitter and will be eligible to sign his letter-of-intent in November.
He chose Oklahoma State, located in Stillwater, Okla., over scholarship offers from Missouri State, St. Louis University and Liberty.
“After two months of looking at options I decided to go with Oklahoma State,” said Riley, who was 5-1 as a junior in Edwardsville’s starting rotation with a 2.31 ERA and 37 strikeouts in 30 1/3 innings. “For me it was real tough because I’m a family guy and like to stay close to my family. My dreams are to pursue my baseball career as long as possible and if that’s the case I’m going to have to be away from home anyway.
“OSU provided me with the tools I need to be successful.”
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Oklahoma State was 38-20 last season and made another NCAA Regional appearance on its home field. The Cowboys won the 1959 national championship, have reached the College World Series 19 times (fifth all-time) and own 31 conference championships.
Riley is the son of former Edwardsville High standout P.J. Riley, who played college baseball at Kansas and Southern Illinois University Edwardsville before being drafted in the 15th round in 1989 by the Houston Astros. P.J. Riley is a member of the SIUE Athletics Hall of Fame.
Trey Riley admitted being a bit torn with former Edwardsville teammates Jordan Hovey and Blake Graham at Missouri State. Another Missouri State recruit from the metro-east and a friend of Riley’s is Waterloo High pitcher Tyler McAlister.
“I know Missouri State’s got unbelievable facilities, but the whole Big 12 Conference and everything else combined probably had a big sway,” Edwardsville coach Tim Funkhouser said. “I told him earlier in the week he’s not going to make a bad decision.”
Riley’s fastball topped out at 91 mph this summer and he typically sits in the 87-89 mph range. The 6-foot-2, 180-pound right-hander gained more college recruiting attention this summer while attending the New Balance Area Code tryouts in Broken Arrow, Okla.
After seeing him there, as well as with his St. Louis Prospects travel team, Oklahoma State and Missouri State both made their offers. Riley said he visited both schools but was blown away by surroundings at Oklahoma State.
“Summer has always been my time to shine because we go to showcase every weekend and you get a lot more exposure there,” said Riley, who also credited longtime Edwardsville pitching coach Mike Waldo. “He really helped me develop into a better pticher and one of the biggest tools he gave me was my slider.
“I never had a slider before this year and that’s one of my best pitches right now.”
Funkhouser said Riley became a much more consistent pitcher as a junior and figures to be one of the Tigers’ top starters next season along with Jake Garella. Also the Tigers’ starting soccer goalkeeper, Riley will likely see time as a position player on the baseball team this spring.
“You saw he had a lot in him and as the season went on he displayed more consistency in his delivery and execution of his pitches,” Funkhouser said of Riley. “He’ got great stuff and a live arm and he loves to compete. People really love athletic pitchers — and he’s athletic.
“He’s going to be logging a ton of innings for us this coming year and can be the guy that can really push us on a deep postseason run and be strong.”