Trio of Gauchos Earn All-Region Honors

Trio of Gauchos Earn All-Region Honors

2019 ABCA/Rawlings NCAA Div. I All-Region Teams

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - As the postseason accolades continue to roll in for the UC Santa Barbara baseball program, a trio of Gauchos found themselves named to the 2019 American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings NCAA Division I All-Region Team on Wednesday afternoon. 

Juniors Ben Brecht, Armani Smith and Eric Yang all landed on the All-West Region Second Team. 

Southpaw starter Brecht, a fifth round selection of the Tampa Bay Rays in last week's Major League Baseball Draft, led the Gauchos with a 10-2 record on the mound while adding a conference best 101 strikeouts along with a 4.10 ERA. A Second Team All-Big West selection, Brecht started a team-high 16 games, and his 10 wins rank fifth all-time in UCSB single-season history. The Wilmette, Ill. native's year began with an impressive outing in the season-opener at LMU on Feb. 16 when he struck out five batters in five innings while allowing just two runs. He went on to set a career-high with 11 strikeouts in 7.1 innings at Tulane (Mar. 8) and struck out 52 in six straight starts from Feb. 22 to Mar. 29. In what was then the biggest game of the year, Brecht delivered with eight strikeouts in 7.2 solid innings of three-hit ball and allowed just one run in a 4-1 win over No. 15 UC Irvine. 

Smith, a seventh round selection of the San Francisco Giants, adds an All-Region selection to his name after earning First Team All-Big West honors following a blistering junior campaign. The Martinez, Calif. native hit .323 with 11 home runs and 45 RBIs, giving himself 19 homers and 98 RBIs for his career. Smith started all 56 games for the Gauchos, with 55 starts coming in right field. He produced 37 extra-base hits with a team-high 18 doubles and eight triples, falling one triple shy of the UCSB single-season record. He finished with 16 multi-RBI games, 22 multi-hit games and slashed .323/.393/.631 and also earned Big West Athlete of the Week (May 6) after hitting a game-winning two-run single in the 9th inning at CSUN. 

Another day, another award for Yang who has already been named the Big West Field Player of the Year, a Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Finalist, an All-American by both Collegiate Baseball and Baseball America, First Team All-Big West, and a seventh round selection by the Cincinnati Reds. The junior catcher led the team with a .368 batting average (77-for-209) to go along with seven home runs and 45 RBIs. He played in all 56 games for Santa Barbara, starting 46 behind the dish and 10 at designated hitter, while leading the Gauchos (45-11) to its 12th NCAA Regional appearance in program history. He also led the team with 25 multi-hit games and finished with a slash line of .368/.479/.545. Defensively, Yang was exceptional. He threw out 10 runners trying to steal in 30 attempts for a 33.3 caught stealing percentage and recorded a .993 fielding percentage.