SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The latest UCSB baseball recruiting class has been tabbed as the 31st best in the country, it was revealed by Collegiate Baseball on Friday.
This is the second consecutive year that the Gauchos have placed on the annual recruiting results, after last year's class checked in at No. 18, the best ranking in program history. The 2012 class was also ranked a program record 12th by Baseball America.
"This is a very strong group of incoming student-athletes," said head coach Andrew Checketts. "Eddie Cornejo [Assistant Coach/Recruiting Coordinator] and Jason Hawkins [Assistant Coach] once again identified a number of players who will improve our squad both in the long term and in the immediate future."
The 2013 recruiting class is headlined by infielder Brody Weiss, outfielder Josh Adams, pitcher Brandon Luper, and a pair of athletic catchers in David Schuknecht and Dempsey Grover.
Weiss, the son of Colorado Rockies managers Walt Weiss, was selected in the 22nd round of this year's First Year Player Draft by his father's team, but decided to honor his NLI with UCSB instead of going pro. Adams was hampered by a knee injury during his senior season at Pleasant Grove High School, but was still listed by both Baseball America and Perfect Game as a Top-100 high school player in the country. Luper had an ERA under 2.00 in his final two years at Esperanza High, while Schuknecht (.378 OBP for Riverside City College) and Grover (two-time All-League at Beyer High School) should bring plenty of depth and ability to the backstop.
The Gauchos were one of just two Big West institutions to be ranked. Cal State Fullerton was tabbed at No. 7 by Collegiate Baseball. UC Irvine, UC Riverside, Long Beach State, and Hawai'i all received honorable mentions.
Entering its third year, Checketts' tenure as the head of the program has been an unmitigated success, both on and off the field.
After setting a school record for the most wins by a first year coach in 2012, he led the Gauchos in 2013 to their first trip to the NCAA Regionals in over a decade via an undefeated record in home series and a 16-6 mark in the final 22 games of the regular season.
Off the field, Checketts and his staff have put together some of the most highly regarded recruiting classes in program history in both 2012 and 2013. His prominence on the national scene has been recognized by several baseball publications, including Perfect Game – who have called him a "Coach on the Rise" in each of the last two offseasons – and Baseball America, who cited him as one of the Top 10 head coaches under 40 years old.
This year's group of newcomers, combined with a roster returning the likes of Freshman All-Americans Robby Nesovic and Dylan Hecht as well as 2013 All-Big West selections Austin Pettibone, Woody Woodward, Cameron Newell, and Jackson Morrow, should provide one of the most exciting seasons yet at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The campaign for Gaucho Park, which will aim to renovate the entrance to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium as well as install bathrooms and lights for night games, is underway and your help is needed. To learn more about Gaucho Park, click here. To assist with the vision for Gaucho Park, please contact Andy Fee, Senior Associate Athletics Director for Development and Principal Gifts for Athletics at Andy.Fee@athletics.ucsb.edu