Nov. 19, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Already ranked among the nation's best after last season's top recruiting class, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team signed seven standout players to National Letters of Intent who will join the team next season. Among the seven players the Gauchos will add are five highly-ranked pitchers and two infielders.
"We are very excited that we were able to address our biggest need, which was pitching," UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema said. "Each arm will have an opportunity to come and get innings right away. We didn't have a lot of scholarship money available but were able to sign seven quality student-athletes. All of these young men are outstanding students that will represent our university in a positive fashion."
Steven Fisher, an infielder from San Marcos High in San Diego, chose UCSB over USC, UC Irvine, UC Riverside and Indiana after hitting .426 as a junior and being named his team's MVP.
"At 6-foot-3 Steven is an extremely athletic and versatile player," Brontsema said. "He can play just about any position on the field and has during his career. He has a real passion for the game and has played on All-Star teams all over the world."
Joining Fisher in the infield will be Chris Paul, who is at Laguna Beach High and was an All-CIF pick as a junior after batting .490. Paul was the Orange Coast League MVP as a sophomore and after verbally committing to Cal, will join UCSB since Cal is dropping baseball from its athletic program.
"Chris is a strong and talented infielder in line with some of the great infielders that have come through this program," Brontsema said. "He originally committed to Cal until their unfortunate news, so we were very pleased to be able to land Chris."
Brontsema said of his infielders that "Chris and Steve are both athletic and strong enough to come in and win spots as freshmen."
Austin Pettibone is a right-handed pitcher from Esperanza High who went 8-1 with two saves as an all-league pick his junior season. Pettibone joins the Gauchos rather than Pepperdine, Santa Clara and UCR, who all recruited him.
"Austin is a very polished right-handed pitcher with great upside," Brontsema said. "He comes from a family of outstanding pitchers as well as a high school that has produced a number of great players. We really liked what we saw from him this summer."
Colin Reed will join UCSB from St. Francis High in Mountain View, Calif. The left-handed pitcher was 3-1 with a 2.07 ERA last season.
"Colin is a left-hander with command of three pitches," Brontsema said. He could pitch for us right away out of the bullpen."
Andrew Vasquez went 6-2 with a 3.26 ERA as a junior for Los Osos High and the 6-foot-6 left-hander is drawing comparisons to former Gaucho Jim Bullard, who reached Class AAA.
"He is coming off a solid junior year but we feel that he has only started to touch his potential," Brontsema said. "I look forward to what our conditioning program and Coach Tom Myers does for him."
Right-hander Campbell Ware will become a Gaucho after finishing up at Point Loma High and spurning offers from UCR and San Diego State.
"Campbell reminds us so much of (all-Big West choice) Jesse Meaux, and Jesse has been pretty good for us," Brontsema said. "Campbell has two `plus' pitches that he commands very well. He's another young pitcher that throws strikes."
Rounding out the Gauchos' top-notch recruiting class is Griffin Paul from Newbury Park High. The right-handed Paul did not pitch as a junior due to injury, but that should not affect his future in the blue and gold.
"Griffin is a right-handed pitcher with a plus breaking ball and surprising pop on his fastball," Brontsema said. "He flew a little under the radar because he didn't pitch much his junior year. He has good command of his pitches and threw very well over the summer and fall seasons."
The Gauchos return several key members from last season's team including all-conference pitcher Jesse Meaux, senior outfielder Mark Haddow and left-handed pitcher Kevin Gelinas, who was drafted in June.
To see the entire 2011 baseball schedule, please click here.
UCSB will host its second annual baseball fundraising dinner, which will take place on Friday, Jan. 28. After having special guest Tommy Lasorda speak, this year's ceremony will be called "A Night With An Angel" and feature Angels manager Mike Scioscia. For more information or details on this exciting event, please contact Christina Baglas at (805) 893-5372 or e-mail her at: firstname.lastname@example.org.