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Local players go in Major League draft

June 07, 2006|By Dominic Perrone

Cassel, the Friday-night starter who helped lead the Anteaters to their second NCAA Regional berth in three seasons, was excited when the White Sox made him the 225th overall pick. Cassel, who was drafted in the 30th round out of Chatsworth High, planned on his junior season being his last at UCI.

Prior to the selection, Cassel was more nervous then he gets on the mound. Not even a call from the White Sox before picking him could ease the nerves.

"They said 'Hey do you still want to sign if we pick you? When they hung up the phone, it wasn't for sure," Cassel, 7-9 with a 3.43 earned-run average in 134 innings this season, said. "When my name appeared on the computer, that's when it was the real deal."

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Cassel and the five other Anteater players he lives with burst with excitement when his name was displayed. He received another call came from the White Sox and happily thanked the organization for the opportunity.

"At this point in my career, I'm ready," Cassel said. "They found I'm pretty durable and I know how to pitch. "I learned through my career to throw a lot of strikes," Cassell saidGetting drafted hardly made him special among his three other siblings. His brother Matt is a backup quarterback with the New England Patriots and brother Jack is a pitcher for the San Diego Padres' Triple-A affiliate. Sister Amanda is pre-med major at Long Beach State.

UCI Coach Dave Serrano said Erickson, who has earned several All-American laurels while compiling a school-record 40 saves, is expected to return for his senior season.

Erickson went 5-0 with 13 saves and a 2.06 ERA, holding opponents to a staff-low .229 batting average,

"He is disappointed and we are disappointed in how low he went," said Serrano, who noted Erickson's stock slipped along with his velocity.

Serrano said Erickson was shooting for the top four rounds after being projected by some as going as high as the first or second round.

Harper, who underwent a second Tommy John elbow surgery in March, pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings this season, striking out eight. He has signed with Long Beach State and Altobelli said he would likely stick with plans to play for the 49ers after rehabilitating his pitching arm.

Swanson, UCI's career leader with 298 strikeouts, went 9-4 with a 2.86 ERA in his final collegiate season. The left-hander, who fanned 14 in a no-hitter April 25 against the University of San Diego, bounced back from elbow problems that sidelined him in 2005.

Huff, who competed for UCI as a freshmen and Cypress College as a sophomore, went 7-4 with a 2.98 ERA this season for the Bruins.dpt.07-bradbury-1-BPhotoInfo0F1RNHCD20060607iz6ql3ncDON LEACH / DAILY PILOT(LA)Josh Bradbury, a Corona del Mar High product who starred at OCC this season, was picked Tuesday in the eighth round of the Major League draft by Texas.

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