UTICA, Mich. -- Former Ohio baseball players Michael Klein (Highlands Ranch, Colo.) and Gerry Salisbury (Brunswick, Ohio) signed professional contracts with teams in the United Shore Professional Baseball League on Monday (June 11).
Klein, a right-handed pitcher/designated hitter, has signed with the Westside Woolly Mammoths, while Salisbury, a left-handed pitcher, has signed with the Birmingham Bloomfield Beavers.
Klein established himself as one of the top two-way players in the Mid-American Conference in his three seasons at Ohio, starting on the mound as a right-handed pitcher and serving as designated hitter for the Bobcats since transferring from Iowa Western Community College. He started 96 of the 106 games he has played in, ranking as one of the team's top hitters and power threats with 100 hits -- including 20 doubles, four triples and 12 home runs -- while driving in 69 runs and scoring 61. On the mound, he started 32 games and made 47 appearances while ranking among the staff leaders in strikeouts (122) and innings pitched (174.2) during his time at Ohio. In 2017, while helping to lead the Bobcats to a MAC Championship tournament title, he earned All-MAC First Team honors as a starting pitcher while leading the team in wins (5) and ranking fifth in the MAC in ERA (3.48). He was then named to the 2017 All-MAC Tournament Team as a designated hitter for his efforts in helping to lead Ohio to the championship after hitting .357 with five hits -- including a double and a home run -- to go along with three RBIs and four runs scored. Klein earned his undergraduate degree in Finance.
Salisbury has been the ace of the Ohio pitching staff over the last two seasons, with his junior campaign in 2017 marking his finest as he started every Friday night game for the Bobcats, setting career bests in ERA (4.58), appearances (17), starts (17), innings pitched (92.1) and strikeouts (75) while helping to guide the Bobcats to the MAC tournament title. He was instrumental in Ohio's run to the 2017 MAC tournament championship. Salisbury struck out eight over six-plus innings in a 4-3 victory over Ball State in the tournament opener, then started on the mound again four days later in the 7-4 championship game win over Eastern Michigan. In his five years as a Bobcat, he started 41 of the 63 games he appeared in. As a redshirt senior in 2018, Salisbury was Ohio's leader in both innings pitched (82.0) and strikeouts (60) and garnered MAC Pitcher of the Week honors for the first time in his career on April 2 after striking out a career-high 11 and allowing just four hits, no walks and no earned runs over seven innings in a 6-1 win over Northern Illinois on March 31 at Bob Wren Stadium. He departed Ohio with two championship rings as he was also a member of the 2015 MAC tournament winning squad. Salisbury earned his undergraduate degree in Sport Management and is pursuing a graduate degree in Coaching Education.
Klein and Salisbury give the Bobcats three former players who are currently competing in the USPBL. Former Ohio outfielder Spencer Ibarra is in his second season playing for the Utica Unicorns. An All-MAC First Team selection in 2017, Ibarra was named the USPBL Player of the Week for May 28-June 3 after leading all offensive players by posting six hits -- including two doubles and two home runs -- and driving in five runs. He batted a league-best .429 and tallied a slugging percentage of 1.000.
Three former Ohio players have now signed professional contracts since the conclusion of the 2018 campaign. Right-handed pitcher Jake Roehn (Sandwich, Ill.) signed a professional contract with the Frontier League's Windy City Thunderbolts on May 30.
Six former Bobcats who have played under sixth-year Ohio head coach Rob Smith are currently playing professional baseball -- Ibarra, Klein, Roehn, Salisbury, right-handed pitcher Logan Cozart (Colorado Rockies -- Double-A Hartford Yard Goats), outfielder Mitch Longo (Cleveland Indians -- Class A Advanced Lynchburg Hillcats) and right-handed pitcher Tom Colletti (San Diego Padres -- Rookie AZL Padres 2).