March 31, 2014

UCSB Alum Mario Hollands Cracks Philadelphia Phillies Opening Day Roster

ARLINGTON, Tex. – Former UC Santa Barbara standout Mario Hollands has made the 25-man Opening Day roster for the Philadelphia Phillies, the team announced over the weekend.

Hollands, a 6-5 southpaw, earned a spot with the club in his very first big league spring training camp after he sported a 3.08 ERA while striking out 10 in 11.2 innings pitched.The 25-year old is expected to be a swingman in the Phillies bullpen, capable of being a lefty-on-lefty specialist, a multi-inning long reliever, and a spot starter.

With Hollands now in the major leagues, the UCSB Baseball program can boast two MLB alumni in he and Cincinnati Reds utility man Skip Schumaker.

Fellow UCSB alums Michael Young, who holds Texas Rangers franchise records with 1,823 games, 2,230 hits, 415 doubles, 55 triples and 1,085 runs, and Ryan Spilborghs, who spent seven years with the Colorado Rockies and hit .318 in 2008, both retired this offseason.

Barry Zito, another former Gauchos lefty, is expected to take a year off from baseball after spending seven years apiece with MLB's two Bay Area franchises, highlighted by a 2002 Cy Young Award with the Oakland Athletics and World Series Championships with the San Francisco Giants in 2010 and 2012. 

In three years at UCSB, Hollands had an 18-14 record with a 4.16 ERA and 190 strikeouts in 270 innings pitched. Though he went 7-3 and was named Big West Freshman of the Year in 2008, his top statistical season came as a junior in 2010, when he recorded career-best figures in ERA (3.77), strikeouts (80), and innings pitched (98). On Mar. 12 of that year, he tied a program record by striking out 16 batters in an 8-1 win over Northern Illinois University.

Hollands was selected in the 10th round of the 2010 MLB First-Year Player Draft (321st overall) by the Phillies. In four minor league seasons spread over five different levels and five different teams, he has gone 24-22 with a 3.93 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif. native had the best year of his professional career in 2013, going 7-3 with a 2.86 ERA between high-A Clearwater and AA Reading.

The Phillies open the 2014 season with a three-game set at Texas starting today. Santa Barbara area fans will have their first chance to see Hollands in a major league uniform when the Phils visit the Los Angeles Dodgers from Apr. 21-24.

The UCSB baseball team, currently ranked No. 13 in the country with a 19-5 record, is going into its second week of Big West conference play and travels to Cal Poly for a vital three-game series starting this Friday night at 6:00 p.m.