UCI ace tops draftees

Summers taken in fourth round by Twins. UCI's Hillman and Hernandez, OCC's Thompson and two UCI recruits also go.

June 07, 2011|By Barry Faulkner,

UC Irvine junior All-American pitcher Matt Summers has said he would make a motivational target of the first pitcher selected in the major league draft in which he went in the fourth round Tuesday to the Minnesota Twins.

The Anteaters' right-hander, who seized Big West Pitcher of the Year honors by going 8-0 in his eight conference starts, has a few more rivals to try to outperform professionally after being the 78th pitcher selected, the 148th overall pick.

What's more, Summers saw four Big West pitchers chosen ahead of him, a fact that rankled UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, who has marveled at the development of Summers from inconsistent reliever (an 8.36 ERA in 37 2/3 innings coming into this season) to one of the most dominant starters in the nation.


"The fourth round is a good round and he jumped a lot to get to the fourth round," said Gillespie, who has termed Summers' improvement a quantum leap. "I was hoping, if not really expecting that we might see him go a little earlier.

"I'm a little surprised that there are some guys in the conference that went ahead of him that, quite frankly, I would have thought he demonstrated he was the better prospect."

Summers, named second-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, is 11-2 with a 1.72 earned-run average this season heading into his start Saturday in the 10 a.m. opener of a super regional at Virginia, the No. 1 national seed. Summers, who was drafted in the 43rd round out of high school in Arizona by the New York Yankees, has won his last nine decisions and his last five starts. He has allowed one earned run and seven hits in his last three starts, spanning 24 innings and including a no-hitter in his final regular-season appearance against Long Beach State.

He has won five straight starts and will match up on Saturday against UVA junior All-American left-hander Danny Hultzen (11-3 with a 1.57 ERA), who was drafted No. 2 overall Monday by the Seattle Mariners, behind UCLA junior Gerrit Cole (Pittsburgh Pirates).

Summers was taken after Big West mound rivals Andrew Gagnon, a Long Beach State junior who went in the third round (No. 100 overall) to the Milwaukee Brewers.

Matt Andriese out of UC Riverside (third round, No. 112 overall to the San Diego Padres), and Cal State Fullerton starters Tyler Pill (fourth round, No. 132 overall to the New York Mets) and Noe Ramirez (fourth round, No. 142 overall to the Boston Red Sox) were all chosen before Summers.

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