UC Santa Barbara Inks Strong Recruiting Class

Nov. 17, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team has signed six talented high school seniors and one junior college player to National Letters of Intent, head coach Bob Brontsema announced Thursday.

The recruiting class includes three right-handed pitchers, two left-handed pitchers and two middle-infielders. If not drafted, they will all join the Gauchos beginning in the 2007 season. Below is the alphabetical list of recruits with information about their baseball careers thus far:

Kyle Brown•LHP•Golden West Community College•6-3
Brown is a command pitcher with a plus change-up. Before finding time at Golden West, he starred at Servite High School in Anaheim, Calif. In 2005, he played summer baseball with Gauchos Brian Tracy and Justin Segal for Rockville Express in the Cal Ripken Collegiate League. In 21 innings pitched for Rockville, Brown went 1-1 with 17 strikeouts, three walks and a save while holding opponents' batting average to .205.

Recruited by: UC Davis

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Kyle is a strike-throwing left-hander that will bring us an experienced arm out of the pen. He played with a couple of our guys over the summer and was very good."

Forest Cannon•RHP•Eagle High School (Idaho)•6-3
Cannon is described as a pitcher with a power arm and command of three pitches. He was a member of the Seattle Mariners 2005 Area Code Team. In Cannon's junior season, in which he was voted First Team All-Conference, he went 6-1 with a 1.25 ERA in 50 innings pitched and finished the season with three complete games. Over those innings, Cannon tallied 70 strikeouts and opponents managed to hit a meager .085 at the plate. In addition, Cannon posted games in which he struck out twelve, thirteen, and sixteen batters. Along with all his accomplishments on the field, Cannon was named an All-Academic SIC and an Idaho Top Scholar for his work in the classroom.

Recruited by: Oregon State, Oklahoma, Michigan

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Forest is a power arm who pitches in the low 90's. He was recruited by some big name schools, but he was kind of a `sleeper' in the recruiting wars. However, we feel, by playing year round in Santa Barbara that he will blossom into a big-time college pitcher."

Mike Ford•RHP•Mountain Pointe High School (Arizona)•6-3
Ford is a power pitcher with command of a three-pitch arsenal. His fastball registers in the high 80's to low 90's. He was a member of the 2005 Cincinnati Reds Area Code Team as well as a participant in UCSB's 2005 Summer All-Star Camp.

Recruited by: Arizona State University, University of Arizona, Hawaii

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Mike is another strong and physical right-handed pitcher. We saw Mike at our camp and loved his competitiveness. He throws three quality pitches for strikes and should be a big contributor for the Gauchos."

Mario Hollands•LHP•El Cerrito High School•6-4
Hollands has been named one of "The Nations Best 50 Pitchers to Watch" by Student Sports. He was awarded First-Team All Alameda Contra Costa League before being named the ACCAL MVP in 2005. In addition, Hollands was deemed the 2005 Alhambra Tournament MVP. He was a member of the Milwaukee Brewers Area Code Team, the 2005 Junior NorCal Team, and was a participant in the Tournament of Stars in Joplin, Missouri. Hollands combined for a no-hitter and was crowned Co-National Champions of the National Tournament in Marrieta, Georgia. In his junior season, the El Cerrito, Calif. native went 9-2 with a 1.00 ERA and two saves in seventy innings pitched while surrendering only forty hits and nineteen walks and striking out eighty-two.

Recruited by: Texas, Cal, Oklahoma, Arizona State University

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Mario is a big, athletic left-hander with tremendous upside. We feel he will be an immediate contributor and has the ability to be a difference maker during his time at UCSB."

Sam Phippen•RHP•Durango High School (Colorado)•6-8
Phippen is a pitcher with a power arm and a fastball that is clocked in the low 90's. As a Gaucho he will split time with the Men's Basketball Program.

Recruited by: Northwestern, Wichita State (Basketball)

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Sam is very much a wild card for us. He projects very well with his size and current velocity. It's a difficult double with our seasons overlapping, but we've done it twice before (Josh Merrill and Bob Erbst)."

Gunnar Terhune•SS•St. Augustine High School•5-10
Terhune is an athletic middle infielder that plays with high intensity and grit. He is a three-time All-Conference player and a two-time All-CIF member, including a First-Team All-CIF recipient in 2005. A member of the Milwaukee Brewers 2005 Area Code Team, he was also named First-Team Union Tribune and League MVP in 2005. In his junior season, Terhune batted .407 with five homeruns and 18 stolen bases.

Recruited by: Hawaii, Tennessee, San Diego State

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Gunnar is a high profile guy that could step in and fill the void that Chris Valaika would leave, if he signs. Gunnar is an athletic, strong-armed infielder with a potent bat. He looks to continue the tradition of outstanding Gaucho middle infielders."

Matt Valaika•SS/2B•Hart High School•5-10
Valaika is a three-year varsity letterman at Hart. He was voted all Foothill Conference in both his sophomore and junior years. Batted .366 as a junior and led the team in fielding percentage. Also excels on the soccer field, setting the Hart High School record for goals and being voted 2005 Player of the Year.

Recruited by: Gonzaga, Santa Clara University

Quote from Coach Brontsema: "Matt is a quality infielder that comes from a great athletic family. A talented multi-sport athlete in high school, we expect Matt to mature into an outstanding middle-infielder as he narrows his focus on academics and baseball. With Matt, Gunnar and our returning infielders, the future looks very bright in the infield."

Quote on the entire recruiting class from Coach Brontsema:
"We are extremely excited about this talented group of players. Coach Tom Myers has done a great job in putting a recruiting class together that brings UCSB the type of student/athlete that this university looks for. We have filled just about all of our needs during this early signing period and have done it with student/athletes that will make a positive impact on our program. We can now move to the next signing period focusing our direction on finding a centerfielder."