Several Gauchos Earn Baseball America Preseason Recognition

Several Gauchos Earn <i>Baseball America </i>Preseason Recognition

Jan. 20, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Sophomore shortstop Chris Valaika, senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson, senior catcher Matt Kalafatis, and junior pitcher Steve Morlock were each cited with a variety of honors in this week's Baseball America magazine.

Valaika was ranked 24th among the "Fab 50 Sophomores" in collegiate baseball. In addition, he was named as one of the top prospects for the 2006 Major League Draft. Last year, Valaika was selected as the Big West Freshman of the Year and Second Team All-Big West following an outstanding first season. During the summer of 2004, he was a member of the U.S. National Team which won the World Championship.

Wilkerson, who is nearing UCSB's career record for home runs, was selected as the "Best Power Hitter" in the Big West. Last season, he belted ten home runs. As a freshman, Wilkerson set a Gaucho record for circuit clouts by a freshman with 16. He has 29 entering the 2005 season.

Morlock, one of UCSB's top starting pitcher as a sophomore in 2004, has been rated among the top 200 college prospects in the class of 2005. He was ranked 169th.

Kalafatis, who seized the starting catchers spot early in the 2004 campaign, was named by Baseball America as having "The Best Throwing Arm" among catchers in the Big West.

The UCSB baseball team will debut on Saturday, January 29, when it hosts its annual Alumni Game at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.