Aug. 24, 2006
Orem, Utah -
Former Gaucho shortstop Chris Valaika will look to match a Pioneer League record by hitting safely in his thirtieth consecutive game tonight at 7:05 p.m. against the Orem Owlz of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization in Orem, Utah. Valaika's twenty-nine game hit streak, which began on July 21, is already a club record for Billings and a Minor League season-high for this year. Over the streak, Valaika is batting .370 (44-for-119) with nine doubles, three triples, four homers, 34 RBIs and 28 runs scored. In addition, Valaika's 77 hits and 56 RBI are tops in the Pioneer League.
Valaika was selected 84th overall in the 2006 June Amateur Draft earlier this year. Valaika's third round selection was the second highest that any UCSB baseball player has ever been taken in the June Amateur Draft. Maury Ornest was drafted in the second round of the 1980 June Amateur Draft.
In 2006, Valaika was a First Team All-Big West Conference selection a year after sitting out the majority of the 2005 season with an injured knee. In addition, the star shortstop was second on the team in terms of batting average with a .335 mark and his 57 RBIs led the Big West. As a Gaucho rookie in 2004, Valaika was a Freshman All-American as well as the Big West's Freshman of the Year.
Recognized for his outstanding all-around play for the Mustangs, the Valencia, Calif. native was also listed on Baseball America's Prospect Hot Sheet on Monday. To read the Baseball America article and keep track of Valaika and the Mustangs, please click the following links: