Will be back in the lineup as the Gauchos' starting shortstop...Named to the 2006 Wallace Watch List by the College Baseball Foundation.
After his Freshman All-American and Big West Freshman of the Year performance in 2004, Valaika missed the majority of his sophomore campaign due to injury...Played in 18 games before the setback...In only 72 at-bats, he managed to rack up five doubles and twelve runs scored...Went 3-for-6 with two runs scored, a double, one RBI and a walk at Pepperdine on February 5...Batted 3-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and a walk in a 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13.
Valaika was named Big West Freshman of the Year and Freshman All-American after starting all 54 games in 2004...Hit .347, blasting seven homeruns and driving in 38...Was the team leader in total bases (119), doubles (15) and extra-base hits (25)...Hit .311 (23-for-74) with runners in scoring position...Had a team-high 24 multi-hit games...Also recorded eight multi-RBI games...He went 70-for-183, .383, over the final 44 games, collecting at least one hit in 38 of those...Was a perfect five-for-five with five runs scored, three RBI, two doubles, a homer and a walk February 28 against Fresno State...Also posted four hits and three RBI in an April 3 game against Sacramento State...Went 3-for-5 driving in four and scoring one against Cal State Fullerton on April 13...On April 30 he was 3-for-4 in a win over Long Beach State...Valaika hit in eight of nine games against Cal State Fullerton, Long Beach State and UC Irvine, all Big West opponents that advanced to the NCAA Tournament...Against those three opponents he was 14-for-37 (.378) with eight RBI, nine runs scored, four doubles, two triples and two homeruns...Finished the season with two or more hits in four straight games and six of the last eight...Not only did Valaika have 24 multi-hit games, he had eight games with three or more hits...In addition to his stellar play offensively, he had just 12 errors in 287 chances in the field.
Won a Gold medal while playing with Team USA Under-16 squad in the World Games in Veracruz, Mexico...Won a Silver medal with the U-18 team in the 2003 Pan-America Games in Curacao after hitting .385 with two homers and two doubles...Won a Gold medal with the USA National team in the Pan Am Games in Santo Domingo where he had eleven hits, two triples and a homerun.
Played at Hart High School under coach Jim Ozella...Hit .411 as a sophomore and junior and .426 as a senior...Recorded 42 doubles in those three years and compiled 107 hits...Received All-Foothill League honors his sophomore, junior and senior seasons...Also received First Team All-State and First Team All-CIF honors as a junior and senior...Holds the school record for most career home runs with 18.
Born August 14, 1985 in Santa Monica, California...Aspires to play professional baseball...Roots for the Los Angeles Dodgers...Majoring in Anthropology at UCSB...Favorite athlete is former Gaucho shortstop, Michael Young...Favorite movies are Bull Durham and Cocktail...Most memorable sports moment was winning a gold medal in Taiwan...Favorite aspects of Santa Barbara are the beach and the weather...Best quote received about baseball and/or life is from James Dean who stated, "Dream as if you'll live forever, live as if you'll die today"...Enjoys watching Family Guy, Nip Tuck and CSI...Three words that describe him are outgoing, loyal and dedicated...Son of Jeff and Ilona Valaika.