Several Gauchos Turn Heads In Professional Ranks, Wrap Up Successful Summer League Seasons
Aug. 14, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A number of former and current UC Santa Barbara baseball players have made names for themselves in the pros and in various summer leagues in recent weeks, including former right-hander Andy Graham, who has been tremendous for the Asheville Tourists of the South Atlantic League. Several other players performed well throughout the summer and were named to all-star squads in the respective leagues.
Graham, who pitched at UCSB from 2003-06, is currently throwing for the Colorado Rockies' Class A affiliate in Asheville, N.C. On July 31, the Rolling Hills, Calif. native got the nod against the Lakewood BlueClaws and tossed a complete game shutout, leading the Tourists to a 6-0 victory. Graham allowed just five hits, while striking out 11 and walking one. In his next start, Graham again shut down the opposition, limiting the Delmarva Shorebirds to just five hits through six scoreless innings. He struck out six and walked three and was named the South Atlantic League Pitcher of the Week for his two performances.
In his last three starts, Graham has allowed just one run and fanned 21 batters spanning a total of 22 innings.
In other player news, former hurler Alex McRobbie (2002-05) has found a home in the Los Angeles Angels organization, competing for the Class A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes. Last year's Team MVP Robbie Blauer has had a great summer with the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League in the San Diego Padres system, while Justin Segal has competed for the GCL Yankees in Rookie Ball and Brian Tracy is a member of the State College Spikes, the Pittsburgh Pirates Class A affiliate.
As far as players returning in 2008, UCSB has had an extremely successful summer in collegiate leagues. Senior outfielder Mike Zuanich and sophomore catcher Steve Domecus both made the West All-Star team in the Cal Ripken Senior Collegiate League, with Domecus winning the home run derby. Both players were members of the Rockville Express and helped lead the team to the 2007 League Championship. Trailing the Bethesday Big Train 3-1, Zuanich's RBI double started a three-run sixth inning and the Express held on for the final three innings to get the 4-3 win and seal the team's first championship.
Brian Gump, Mark Haddow, and Connor Whalen were all selected to the Hawaiian Collegiate League All-Star game and Haddow's three-run double in the bottom of the sixth proved to be the difference as the Makai Islanders defeated the Mauka Warriors 11-5 on July 5. Haddow advanced to the HCBL championship game with the Kauai Menehunes.
In the Alaskan League, junior catcher Chris McMurray and sophomore infielder Gunnar Terhune helped guide the Mat-Su Miners to a share of first place, while Matt Wade and Mario Hollands pitched well throughout the summer for the Peninsula Oilers. Wade, a right-hander from Orange, Calif., posted an ERA of 1.97, struck out 12 and walked six in 11 appearances. Hollands, a tall lefty out of El Cerrito, Calif., went 3-1 in six appearances for the Oilers, while fanning 17 and walking eight.
Senior left-hander Kyle Brown went the entire summer without surrendering an earned run for the Colleyville LoneStars of the Texas Collegiate League. Senior outfielder Chris Fox led the LoneStars with 12 stolen bases and future Gaucho Eric Oliver posted very respectable numbers for the Denton Outlaws.
Lastly, incoming recruit Zach Samuels posted an ERA of 3.60 with four strikeouts and no walks in two appearances for the Maxim Yankees. He tossed four scoreless innings during the NBC World Series in Wichita, Kan., helping the Yankees finish ninth.