SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team signed three promising prospects to National Letters of Intent, the program announced this week, adding to one of the most robust recruiting classes on the west coast.
After signing 10 recruits in the early signing period last fall, head coach Andrew Checketts received commitments from infielder Justin Hearn, catcher Paddy O'Brien, and outfielder Joey Crunkilton, who are all community college players.
"We're pretty excited about being able to add these three guys to the roster," said Checketts. "Being that they're a little bit older, they should be well prepared to step in and contribute right away and help us replace some of our outgoing players."
Hearn, a six-foot, 185 pound infielder who will be a sophomore in the fall, played 39 games – primarily at third base – as a true freshman this past season at Mission College in Santa Clara, Calif. The Campbell, Calif. native had an outstanding .396/.480/.568 slash line and had hits in 33 of his final 35 apperances, including a 16-game hit streak from Mar. 13 through Apr. 17. He added a conference-best seven triples, nine doubles, and a pair of homers over 169 at bats. He played his high school ball at Westmont HS in Santa Clara county.
O'Brien is a 6-4, 220 pound catcher who spent the 2014 season at Santa Barbara City College after utilizing an injury redshirt in 2013 during his true freshman year at TCU. With the Vaqueros, the right-handed hitting O'Brien hit .299 with an eye-catching .447 on-base percentage. The Orinda, Calif. native threw out 40% of would be base-stealers as well. The Miramonte HS product is currently playing summer ball with the Danville Dans of the Prospect League.
Crunkilton is a 5-11, 200 pound left-handed hitting outfielder who spent the past season at Western Nevada College, where he hit .315 in 55 games with an outstanding .562 slugging percentage, an over-100 point improvement from his freshman year (.431). The Seattle, Wash. native clubbed a team-leading eight home runs this past season while also pacing the squad in RBIs (44), total bases (100), hits (56), extra-base hits (26), and walks (27). The power-hitting corner outfielder has the opportunity to immediately slot into the Gaucho lineup.
The initial release on the UCSB Baseball 2014 recruiting class can be found here.
An updated recruit table, with stats and summer ball destinations, if applicable, can be found below.
UC Santa Barbara Baseball 2014 Signees
||Summer League Team|
|Austin Bush||1B||Turlock HS||6-5, 240||.398/.509/.693, 17 XBH, 32 RBIs
||Kitsap Blue Jackets (West Coast League)|
|James Carter||RHP||Chabot College||6-3, 190||10-2, 1.76 ERA, 87 IP, 79 K, 3 CG, 1 SO, 64 H, 17 ER, 17 BB
|Chris Clements||RHP||Pacific Grove HS||6-1, 185||6-2, 0.88 ERA, 56 IP, 78 K, 12 BB, 5 CG, 1 SO, 7 ER
|Joey Crunkilton||OF||Western Nevada CC||5-11, 200||.315/.408/.562, 55 GP, 8 HR, 44 RBIs, 26 XBH, 100 TB, 30 R
|Clay Fisher||SS||La Quinta HS||6-1, 185||.436/.472/.514, 28 GP, 44 H, 27 R, 8 2B, .951 F%
|Alex Garcia||RHP||Bishop Amat HS||6-0, 180||8-3, 1.98 ERA, 16 GP, 13 GS, 3 CG, 1 SO, 70.2 IP, 97 K, 36 BB, 5 XBH, 49 H
||Victoria Harbour Cats (West Coast League)|
|Justin Hearn||INF||Mission CC||6-0, 185||.396/.480/.568, 39 GP, 7 3B, 18 XBH, 28 BB, 10-12 SB/SBA, 31 RBIs, 28 BB
|Kyle Nelson||LHP||Galileo HS||5-10, 155||3-2, 0.86 ERA, 10 GP, 49 IP, 86 K, 22 BB, 3 XBH, 23 H, 6 ER||Anchorage Glacier Pilots (Alaska Baseball League)|
|Paddy O'Brien||C||Santa Barbara CC||6-4, 220||.299/.447/.342, 35 GP, 27 R, 13 RBIs, .981 F%, 15-38 CS/SBA
||Danville Dans (Prospect League)|
|Kyle Plantier||INF||Temecula Valley HS||6-2, 195||.412/.483/.608, 32 GP, 12 XBH, 31 RBIs, 11 BB, 5 K, 40 H, 20 R|