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UCI stars likely to return

BASEBALL: Recent MLB draftees Orloff, Stowell plan to be back in 2009.

June 19, 2008|By Barry Faulkner

The UC Irvine baseball team’s prospects for 2009 appear to be enhanced considerably by the expected return of Major League draft picks Ben Orloff, Bryce Stowell and Tony Asaro.

Anteaters Coach Mike Gillespie said Thursday that none of the aforementioned players have signed with their respective organizations and all are making plans to return to UCI for their senior seasons next year. The return of Asaro, selected in the 47th round by the St. Louis Cardinals, appears certain, though Orloff and Stowell could still opt for the pro ranks, should contract negotiations escalate, Gillespie said.

Orloff, a first-team All-Big West Conference shortstop, was drafted in the 19th round (587th overall) by the Colorado Rockies.

Stowell, a right-handed pitcher who was the Most Outstanding Player at the Lincoln Regional, was taken in the 22nd round (681st overall) by the Cleveland Indians.

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Gillespie said Orloff, who hit .344 with 23 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases, is scheduled to begin summer school next week and will not play summer baseball.

Stowell, a redshirt sophomore who was 8-3 with a 3.26 earned-run average in 16 appearances, 15 starts, left Wednesday to report to the Bourne Braves of the Cape Cod League, where he plans to play this summer with teammates Sean Madigan and Eric Pettis, Gillespie said.

Stowell’s return could significantly lessen the blow of losing junior All-American Scott Gorgen, who is expected to sign with the St. Louis Cardinals, Gillespie said.

Gorgen, taken in the fourth round (125th overall) in the June 5 First-year Player Draft, had not signed yet, but is expected to, Gillespie said.

Junior center fielder Ollie Linton had also yet to sign as of Wednesday, Gillespie said, after being selected in the 13th round (408th overall) by the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Linton, the Anteaters’ single-season and career stolen base leader with 40 and 69, respectively, is listed on the roster of the Missoula Osprey, the Giants’ affiliate in the Rookie Pioneer League, on the Giants’ website. Linton’s listing includes a jersey number (eight), unlike that showing Gorgen as a member of the Batavia (N.Y.) Muckdogs of the Single A short-season New York-Penn League.

Senior catcher Aaron Lowenstein, a 44th-round selection by the San Francisco Giants, has signed, Gillespie said, though Lowenstein had not, as of Thursday, shown up on a roster for any Giants’ affiliate.

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