Dec. 18, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara sophomore pitcher Mike Ford was named to the 2008 Brooks Preseason Watch List, it was announced earlier this month. Ford, who led UCSB in strikeouts as a freshman last season, earned a spot the prestigious list that will eventually determine the player of the year.
Ford appeared in 17 games and started a team-high 13 for a UCSB squad that finished 23-31 overall and 9-12 in conference play in 2007. The Scottsdale, Ariz. native led all Big West freshmen with 82 innings pitched and a total of 68 strikeouts, which ranked 10th among league pitchers overall. Ford finished the season with a record of 2-2 and ranked third on the team with an ERA of 5.05. He was the first freshman to lead the team in strikeouts since Barry Zito did so in 1997 and went on to earn Louisville Slugger Freshman All-American honors from Collegiate Baseball.
The Wallace Award is presented to the nation's top collegiate baseball player in conjunction with the College Baseball Hall of Fame's annual induction festivities. The 2008 award banquet will be held Thursday, July 3, in the United Spirit Arena on the campus of Texas Tech University.
The Wallace Award is a dedication to the memory of the former Texas Tech player and assistant coach Brooks Wallace. Wallace was a slick-fielding shortstop at Texas Tech from 1977 to 1980. A four-year starter, he was named All-Southwest Conference and All-District his senior year and led the Red Raiders to their first-ever appearance in the Southwest Conference Tournament in 1980. After playing two years in the Texas Rangers organization, he returned to Texas Tech and served as a graduate assistant and later as an assistant coach. In the summer of 1984, he was diagnosed with cancer and fought the disease courageously until his death on March 24, 1985, at age 27. The Plano, TX, native was married to the former Sandy Arnold and they had one daughter, Lindsay Ryan.
In other baseball news, former standout shortstop Chris Valaika just missed being named to Baseball America's Top 10 Prospect List. Valaika is still considered one of the top National League prospects after setting a Rookie-level Pioneer League record with a 32-game hitting streak in his first season in the Cincinnati Reds organization in 2006, and then hitting .284 with 12 homers between two Class A stops last season. The magazine's January issue also listed Valaika as the Reds' starting shortstop in a lineup projected for 2011.
Release courtesy College Baseball Foundation.