Anteater Star Power Commands 2017 Baseball Season

Anteater Star Power Commands 2017 Baseball Season

2017 SEASON

Game Notes

Overall Record: 23-33

Big West: 9-15 (7th place)

Home: 10-16    Away: 13-17

ANTEATERS IN THE DRAFT

Keston Hiura: 1st round (9th overall) - Milwaukee Brewers
Calvin Faucher: 10th round - Minnesota Twins
Mikey Duarte: 23rd round - Chicago White Sox
Cameron Bishop: 26th round - Baltimore Orioles
Alex Guenette: Signed pro contract with Milwaukee Brewers

NLI Signees

Royce Lewis: 1st round (1st overall) - Minnesota Twins
Trenton Denholm: 26th round - Boston Red Sox

2017 AT A GLANCE

+ The Anteaters underachieved in 2017 finishing seventh in the Big West Conference going 9-15, and a 23-33 overall record marks the second losing season since the program returned in 2002.

+ UCI's schedule regarded as the toughest the program his put together in the last 10 years, stood as the 71st-toughest in the nation, and when looking at the non-conference foes alone it ranked 48th. UCI played half of its schedule, 28 games, against teams rated in the top 100 of the RPI winning nine games including three over ranked squads in No. 14 Cal State Fullerton, once, and winning two of three from No. 1 TCU. Six opponents on the Anteater schedule reached the NCAA Postseason tournament with UCI posting an overall record of 6-10 against them.

+ The team hit .274, second-highest in the Big West, and posted the conference's best on-base percentage of .364, but had a .371 slugging percentage that ranked as the lowest. The Anteaters finished near the top in many offensive categories placing top three in runs, hits, walks, sacrifice flies, and hit by pitch recording the most plate appearances of any Big West squad.

+ On the pitching end, UCI struggled with the highest ERA at 5.35 and opponent batting average of .299 while issuing 253 walks, highest in the Big West and third-most in a single season in program history.

+ The defense did stand out committing just 48 errors, the second season in program history where the 'Eaters were charged with less than 50 errors, while leading the conference in putouts and chances finishing with a .978 fielding percentage. The team also turned 55 double plays, second-most in the conference and in program history, and had the second-best percentage of throwing out basestealers throwing out a Big West-best 29 runners.

SENIOR SENTIMENTS

Mikey Duarte led all current 'Eaters with 180 games played. He hit .303 over his career with a .971 fielding percentage making two All-Big West squads and twice being a Brooks Wallace Award candidate.

Evan Cassolato played every game this season and 177 over his career. He finished as a .283-hitter breaking out for a .345 average as a junior, and added his only three career home runs as a senior putting up a 5-RBI game at LMU and blasting 2-HR in a win at UC Riverside.

Adam Alcantara anchored the outfield in his four years hitting .307 for his career with at least 20 hits in each season. In his 156 career games, he drove home 79 runs and was hit by 40 pitches. He had a 5-RBI game as a sophomore, and clubbed 2 HR his junior season including an inside-the-park-HR in the finale.

Alex Guenette was really pressed into service in his senior year as the pod of catchers dwindled. He played 51 games starting 47 and playing every inning of Big West play. He had 54 career hits, 25 RBI, hit his one career HR this year at Seattle U, and led the conference this season throwing out 22 basestealers.

Calvin Faucher asserted himself in the backend of the bullpen over his two seasons. He registered 20 saves, fourth-most by an Anteater, including 12 this season, and struck out a remarkable 92 hitters in 65 innings of work.

Michael Martin arose as an important bullpen arm in 2017 finally reaching his potential after a myriad of arm problems. He led the team in games (27) and innings (44) out of the pen this year earning his first career win vs. Portland and started vs. USC.

Edgar Ruvalcaba exhausts his eligibility as he was used primarily as a bullpen catcher. He entered 15 games over his career, all as a sub, recording two hits and two walks in 15 plate appearances, and handled one strikeout in his inning behind the plate.

SEASONAL PRODUCTION

+ The Anteaters did leave tracks in the record books led by one player in particular turning the records upside-down:

Keston Hiura had possibly the best offensive season in UC Irvine baseball history. He hit a mind-boggling .442 to lead the nation, and he joins an exclusive fraternity of UCI players to hit .400 of Mike Nagle (.402 in 1981) and the all-time mark of .403 set in 1971 by Tom Spence. The career average leader, Tom Baine, was safe from Hiura as he finished at .375. Hiura also finished with a .567 on-base percentage to lead the nation, and his .693 slugging percentage is a new UCI single season record surpassing Ken Washington's .673 mark in 1978. He finishes second in career slugging at .581 behind Scott Thayer's mark of .593.

+ Hiura went out with a bang collecting his second career 5-hit game on Saturday which included his 24th double of the season tying Taylor Holiday's total from 2007 for the highest in a single season at UCI. It also gives him 54 career doubles overtaking Jeff Cusick's 52 that stood as the program's record since 2010.

+ Hiura's 50 walks this season makes him the third Anteater with 50 in a season joining Fred Combs in 1990 and the recordholder Brady Anderson who drew 52 walks in 1988. Hiura has already demolished the intentional walk record with 22 in his career. His 12 this season were more than any other Anteater received in their entire careers.

+ Hiura also led the team with 88 hits, tied for sixth-best in a season, and paced UC Irvine in home runs (8), stolen bases (9), runs (48), RBI (42), and total bases (138).

+ In the all-time records, Hiura will finish second in home runs (22),  sixth with 135 RBI, seventh with 236 hits, tied for seventh with 92 walks, second with 14 sacrifice flies, and ninth with 126 RBI.

Parker Coss hit eight sacrifice flies tying the single season record set by Jerry McClanahan in 2014. He finished 2017 on a rough note grounding into a record four doubles plays in a single game. He finished the season as the team's double play leader with nine, but drove in 20 runs in Big West games, one of three players in the conference to do so.

+ Coss also was the team's dodgeball champion by not registering a hit by pitch on the year. That title went to Adam Alcantara who was plunked 14 times. He finishes his career being hit by 40 pitches, second-most behind his coach Ben Orloff's 43. Alcantara also made a mark with a hit streak that began in 2016 and finished up early this season lasting 22 games tying him with Taylor Holiday and Ed Luna as the second-longest streak in the program's history

+ A pair of Anteaters rose into the rankings of Anteater greats proving their longevity. Mikey Duarte will finish 14th in program history playing 180 career games. Evan Cassolato finished closely behind with 177 games played, 15th in program history. Duarte will also finish with 38 doubles, tied for the 13th-best career mark, and he was named to the All-Big West team for a second time.

GREATEST AMERICAN HIURA

Keston Hiura was named Big West Field Player of the Year joining Taylor Sparks (2013) and Ben Orloff (2009) as the other players of the year in program history. He also earned a spot among the 25 semifinalists for the Golden Spikes Award. He has been including and the Preseason and Midseason Watch Lists for the award each of his last two seasons.

+ In the Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft, Hiura was selected ninth overall by the Milwaukee Brewers, the highest-ever for a UC Irvine player, and the first Anteater to be taken in the first round.

+ Hiura earned the spotlight early on being named to five Preseason All-American lists, and did that one better by being named to six All-American squads following his 2017 campaign. He also received All-West Region honors, and was named a National Player of the Week on May 29 to close out the regular season.

+ In 165 career games, Hiura has failed to reach base in just nine while producing 236 hits, 92 walks, 54 doubles, 22 HR, and 135 RBIs. He recently became the 23rd Anteater all-time to drive in 100 career RBI, the 15th Anteater all-time to record 200 hits, and is second in program history in HR, hitting, and slugging.

+ Hiura was named Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year, a first for the program, and made the All-West Region team, the third straight season an Anteater made it, following a 2015 campaign where he landed near the top of many Anteater freshman records including second in doubles (18), hits (75), and at-bats (227) while setting new marks with seven home runs and 52 RBIs.

 
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