Hollands, Valaika Named To National Player of the Year Watch Lists

March 23, 2010

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara senior shortstop Matt Valaika and junior pitcher Mario Hollands solidified their standing among the nation's elite on Tuesday when each were named to Player of the Year watch lists, courtesy of The College Baseball Foundation.

Valaika, who led the Gauchos in batting average and slugging percentage last season, was named to the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List, an award that is given annually to the nation's best shortstop. Valaika leads the team in runs scored and is third on the team thus far in RBI. An All-Big West Honorable Mention pick last season, Valaika returned to UCSB for his senior year after being drafted last summer by the Cincinnati Reds. The Valencia, Calif. native is one of just three Big West players named to the exclusive list.

Hollands, who has twice been named a Big West Pitcher of the Week, was named to The College Baseball Foundation's National Pitcher of the Year Watch List. The El Cerrito, Calif. native tied a school record two weeks ago with 16 strikeouts in a complete-game win over Northern Illinois and then followed it up with 13 strikeouts in his last outing vs. New Mexico State. Hollands, a junior left-hander who was a Freshman All-American, is one of just three Big West pitchers to be put on the exclusive list. So far this season he is 2-0 with a 1.93 ERA.

"They are both very deserving," UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema said. "Matt and Mario are both outstanding players and this is a tremendous honor for both of them. We expect them to compete for these awards throughout the season."

UCSB hosts No. 3 UCLA on Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium at 2 p.m. before taking on USF in a three-game home series beginning Friday. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.

Saturday's game vs. the Dons is the first of 23 Gaucho games that will be broadcast on commercial radio for the first time in five seasons. UCSB games can be heard on AM 1490 and streaming live online at UCSBgauchos.com. Click here for more information and a schedule of baseball games on the air!

Earlier this year UCSB revealed a new look and the baseball team is sporting some new logos and uniforms on the field. Be sure to come to the baseball team's home games to outfit yourself in the new gear! Click here to take a look at the new logos and uniforms the Gauchos are wearing. All new gear is available for purchase at UCSB home baseball games.