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UCI baseball adds seven recruits

Gillespie, whose grandson is among seven early signees, believes its his best class at UCI.

December 04, 2013

Seven high school players have signed national letters of intent to play baseball at UC Irvine, though one was hardly a recruiting coup.

Cole Kreuter, the grandson of UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, is among three infielders set to join the program. The class is rounded out by two pitchers, one outfielder and one catcher.

"This is one of the best recruiting classes we've had in the seven years we've been here," said Gillespie, whose Anteaters are coming off a 33-22 campaign in which they tied for fourth in the Big West Conference and failed to make the 64-team NCAA Tournament field for the second straight season. "We have addressed our primary need for quality, ready-to-perform pitching, and versatile position players who have demonstrated the ability to play anywhere on the field. There is a blend of power and speed among this group, and we have every reason to believe that this group will form the nucleus of outstanding UCI baseball for the next three and four years."

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The recruiting class was delivered after Pat Shine, the former associate head coach and recruiting coordinator, was fired following last season. Former UCI All-American shortstop Ben Orloff was hired to replace Shine and join full-time assistant Bob Macaluso and volunteer assistant and pitching coach Danny Bibona, another former UCI All-American.

UCI made the NCAA field six straight seasons from 2006-2011, including a College World Series appearance in 2007 and runs to the Super Regional in 2008 and 2011.

Kreuter, the son of former major league catcher and USC head coach Chad Kreuter, who is married to Gillespie's daughter, will be a senior shortstop at Westminster Christian High in Miami, Fla. It is the same school that produced Alex Rodriguez. Kreuter, who has also played second base, can play third.

"Cole has demonstrated uncommon instincts and I.Q. for the game and will no doubt, adapt well to the UCI style of play, which requires completeness in all facets of play," Gillespie said.

Shaun Vetrovec, a senior at Newport Harbor High, is a 6-foot-2 right-hander, who was a first-team All-Sunset League and All-Newport-Mesa Dream Team performer as a junior. The Sailors ace the previous two seasons, the two-time Dream Team honoree was 5-4 with a 2.20 earned-run average in 2013. He struck out 38 in 47 2/3 innings and he earned all three of his team's wins in league play.

Vetrovec also hit .317 with two home runs, 18 runs batted in and seven doubles.

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