SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – After putting together a stellar sophomore season that featured 12 saves and a miserly 1.45 ERA, UC Santa Barbara closer Dillon Tate has been invited to tryouts for the Team USA Collegiate National squad, set to begin Friday at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in in Cary, N.C.
"It makes a lot of sense that Team USA invited to Dillon to be a part of the squad," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "He proved himself this year to be one of the top arms in the conference, and has shown the will to keep improving and keep challenging himself. Playing against some of the best college-aged players in the world is just another step in his evolution."
Tate is one of just three Big West players on the provisional 33-man roster, joining All-America honorees Mark Mathias of Cal Poly and Thomas Eshelman of Cal State Fullerton.
Tate also joins a distinguished group of Gauchos to have suited up for the national team. The past three UCSB players to play for Team USA were Chris Valaika, Barry Zito, and Erik Johnson. All three eventually made it to the Major Leagues.
Over 28 appearances spanning 43.1 innings in 2014, the All-Big West Second Team selection recorded an 0-2 record, a 1.45 ERA, 12 saves, and 46 strikeouts. His save total was the second-highest in program history, and his ERA would have qualified as second-best in the UCSB annals as well if he would have reached the 50-inning threshold. The oft-used righty had seven saves that required four outs or more, and pitched more than a single inning on 15 occasions. For his strong sophomore performance, Tate was named the "Breakout Athlete of the Year" at the 2014 SB Awards.
He was also named to the NCBWA "Stopper of the Year" watch list, an award handed out annually to the nation's top relief pitcher. Though he has not appeared for them this season due to his Team USA obligations, Tate is also a member of the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox of the Cape Cod League, one of a record three Gauchos playing in the "Cape" this summer.
The Team USA roster currently sits at 33 players overall and 18 pitchers. A selection committee will pare that number down to 24 players and 12 pitchers. The national squad will play a series of exhibitions against collegiate summer league teams before taking on Chinese Taipei in its first international game on Jul. 1.
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