Jan. 5, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Coming off a 35-win season, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team has recently been recognized by several publications as a team to watch this year while head coach Bob Brontsema and many players were honored recently.
Collegiate Baseball's preseason poll tabbed the Gauchos 30th in the nation, one of only three Big West teams to be ranked that high. Shortly thereafter, Ping! Baseball also ranked UCSB 30th in the country, also one of only three Big West schools to be ranked in the Top-30.
Right-handed pitcher Mike Ford, who is on the Wallace Watch List for the second consecutive season, was also named as a Ping! Preaseaon All-American Third-Team selection. Ford went 6-4 with a 2.96 ERA last season for the Gauchos and was named to the All-Big West Second Team.
In other baseball news, head coach Bob Brontsema was honored at this weekend's American Baseball Coaches Association Luncheon for his outstanding service and dedication to college baseball. Brontsema, who is also the Chair of the NCAA Baseball Rules Committee, is entering his 28th year in the Gaucho program, his 16th as head coach.
"It is a nice honor and a great organization to be recognized by," said Brontsema, who is the active Big West leader in conference and career victories.
In a recent Rivals.com story previewing the upcoming season, UCSB is called "the sleeper on the West Coast." To read the full synopsis, click here.
Also, several UCSB players - and some of those who have signed national letters of intent to play for UCSB in 2010 - were named to Perfect Game USA's players to watch list.
Pitchers Mario Hollands, Joe Gardner and Mike Ford - UCSB's projected weekend rotation - were classified as Group 2 selections, which equates to high-round draft picks (4th to 10th round). Brian Gump, Forrest Cannon and Matt Valaika were all projected into Group 3 (rounds 11 to 25) and Shane Carlson, Clayton Edwards, Eric Oliver, Mark Haddow and Gunnar Terhune were Group 4 picks.
Kevin Gelinas, a left-handed pitcher at Central Arizona Junior College who has signed a letter of intent to play at UCSB, was rated by Perfect Game USA as the No. 1 player in Group 2 among all JC players. Outfielder Derek Eligio, who has also committed to play for UCSB, was a Group 4 selection.
UCSB opens its baseball season with two games on Feb. 22 before hosting its home opener on Monday, Feb. 23 vs. Westmont at 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
UCSB - a nationally recognized university in both academic and athletic excellence - is located on the central coast of California in a picturesque campus and community setting on the Pacific Ocean. Each year over 450 Division 1 Gaucho student-athletes compete for national championships, succeed in the classroom, and give back to the community.