SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Four UC Santa Barbara baseball players were drafted on Wednesday in the final day of Major League Baseball's amateur draft, giving the program a Big West-leading five taken during the three-day event. No other conference team had even as many as four picks in the annual draft.
Joining Brett Vertigan, who was selected in the 10th round on Tuesday, was right-handed pitcher Matt Vedo (24th round, Seattle Mariners), outfielder Lance Roenicke (25th round, Milwaukee Brewers), left-handed pitcher Zak Edgington (34th round, San Francisco Giants) and right-handed pitcher Jared Wilson (35th round, Minnesota Twins).
Vedo, who became the first Gaucho to lead the Big West in strikeouts this season, was snapped up with the 731st overall pick by the Mariners. The Colusa, Calif. native struck out 112 batters this season to rank third all-time in single-season school history and finished with three saves. Vedo was one of the Big West's hardest pitchers to hit as his .209 batting average against was the fourth-lowest while his strikeouts per nine innings ranked fourth in the nation.
"This is what I aimed for when I returned for my senior season," said Vedo, who was selected last June in the 49th round. "I wanted to help the program and improve my draft status. With the help of Coach Checketts I was able to do both."
Roenicke's selection allows him to join the Milwaukee organization where his father, Ron, is the manager. But, it wasn't purely based on family ties. Roenicke had a stellar senior season in which he hit .310 and led the Gauchos with four home runs and 35 RBI. He also set a school record for sacrifice bunts in a season with 16, providing a pivotal role as the No. 2 hitter in the order.
"I am so excited to be joining the Milwaukee organization," said Roenicke who hails from Chino Hills, Calif. "This is a dream come true for me to be selected. The fact that the entire Brewers franchise believed in me the same way my father always has means a ton."
Edgington, a senior from Belmont, Calif., pitched 80.2 innings for the Gauchos this season and moved into the team's Sunday starter role where he thrived. The southpaw had a 3.35 ERA in his first full season as a starter. The Giants picked him with the 1,048th overall selection.
Wilson, a junior from Cypress, Calif., was snagged by the Minnesota Twins with the 1,060th overall pick. The 6-foot-4 righty was a heavily-relied upon relief pitcher for the Gauchos as he appeared in 23 games – all in relief. He averaged nearly a strikeout per inning and was often called upon in tight situations.