BRYAN -- The Brazos Valley Bombers announced today that the team has signed sophomore Jess Buenger and freshman Doug Simmons. Both players are members of the high-powered Rice Owls, currently ranked seventh in the nation by Baseball America.
Buenger’s addition to the Bombers roster comes just as he is making news on the field as well. Buenger was today named the Conference USA Hitter of the Week after going a combined 10-for-18 (.556) with 7 runs scored and 4 RBI in the Owls four games. In leading Rice to a 3-1 record for the week, including a series win against cross-town rival Houston, Buenger added 4 doubles and a home run and slugged a whopping .944.
The switch-hitting Buenger has become a staple in the Rice lineup in recent weeks, finding a place at either second base or designated hitter. After starting the season as a part-time player, Buenger’s bat has continued to improve. His .306 season average is third on the team among regulars and ranks him among the top 30 hitters in Conference USA. He has also shown surprising power; he leads the Owls with a .528 slugging percentage, and his five home runs are the second-highest total on the team. Buenger has added 7 doubles, 20 runs scored, and 21 RBI in just 108 at-bats.
When Buenger arrives for the Bombers season, it will be a homecoming of sorts. The Bellville native spent two years at Texas A&M, playing one season as a redshirt freshman. Buenger made 17 starts and hit .227 as an Aggie, including a double, a triple, and a home run. Buenger is also a two-year veteran of the Texas Collegiate League, spending the last two summers with the Graham Roughnecks, who have since moved to Wichita Falls. Buenger hit for the cycle during the 2005 season, cracking a grand slam and notching 6 RBI in the process, and last year was named a starter for the TCL All-Star Game.
At Bellville High School, Buenger distinguished himself as a four-year starter, earning accolades both on the mound and in the field. He earned all-state honors as a pitcher during his sophomore season, then back to back all-state selections as a shortstop his junior and senior campaigns. Buenger was also a star on the football field, where he was named an all-state quarterback.
A true freshman, Simmons is expected to play both first base and the outfield during his Rice career. As part of one of the deepest rosters in the country, he has yet to see playing time this season, but expectations are high nonetheless. Simmons joined the Owls after a standout prep career at Kingwood High School, where he helped lead the Mustangs to the Texas 5A state title as a junior. Simmons contributed on the mound and in the outfield, where he was a two-time all-district selection.
The Bombers are members of the nine-team Texas Collegiate League, one of the nation’s premier summer collegiate circuits. Teams like the Bombers bring minor league baseball-style entertainment to communities throughout the country, giving some of the best college players a chance to further their careers in wood bat leagues in front of Major League scouts. The Bombers begin their 48-game inaugural season on June 5 against the Coppell Copperheads. The team’s historic home opener will take place on June 8 when the Bombers welcome the Duncanville Deputies to Brazos Valley Bank Ballpark. For more information and to purchase ticket packages, visit the Bombers’ official web site at www.bvbombers.com.