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Shine back, 'Eaters leaving for summer

College Baseball

Assistant coach returns to work as players venture to summer-league assignments.

June 15, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
(Steven Georges )

As finals came to a close Friday and UC Irvine baseball players are bound for their summer destinations, Anteaters Coach Mike Gillespie is pleased to report the return to the program of Pat Shine, the associate head coach and recruiting coordinator.

Shine missed the final 23 games of the 2012 season and had been absent from the program since late April, before returning to work on Monday.

The reason for Shine's absence, referred to by school officials only as a personnel matter, remains unknown. It is also unclear whether he was suspended or placed on leave.

Gillespie said Shine's unscheduled departure, during which director of operations Eric Deragisch assumed the duties of an assistant coach, had little impact on the players' ability to perform during the 31-25 campaign in which UCI finished fourth in the Big West Conference and failed to make the NCAA postseason for the first time in seven years.

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"To say that it was not an issue in any way, I could not say that," Gillespie said of Shine's absence. "But I was sort of proud of the way the players made an adjustment and sort of slogged along and went about their business. It was not obvious they were distracted by it."

Gillespie said recruiting was affected, as focus on the class of 2014 was diminished.

Gillespie also said he believes an explanation of why Shine missed time does not serve anyone now.

"It would be preferred around here that nobody speaks of the specifics of what happened," Gillespie said.

Trying to ensure the postseason drought is discontinued next season, Gillespie will send nearly 20 players to compete in summer leagues throughout the country.

Andrew Thurman, the 'Eaters lone first-team All-Big West performer as a sophomore in 2012, will pitch in the Cape Cod League. Thurman, who threw a no-hitter, took another no-no into the ninth inning and had a one-hit shutout during a breakout season for UCI, will return to the Yarmouth-Dennis Red Sox, who opened their season Thursday.

Pitcher Jimmy Litchfield, who will be a junior in 2013, is the other UCI representative in the Cape, where he will compete for the Chatham Anglers.

Dillon Moyer, who will be a junior next season, is playing for the Battle Creek (Mich.) Bombers in the Northwoods League. Gillespie said Moyer's ability to develop offensively (he has hit .171 in 129 collegiate at-bats) is one of the leading areas of concern during the summer.

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