Tigers Double Up on Matador Picks


Robert Fick and Kurt Airoso might be teammates once again, but neither is likely to return to Cal State Northridge for his senior baseball season.

Both are draft picks of the Detroit Tigers, and if they sign, probably will be sent to the team’s New York-Penn League affiliate in Jamestown, N.Y.

“Looks like I’m back with my best friend,” Airoso said.

Airoso, a 29th-round selection, was the third Matador taken Wednesday, the second day of the three-day draft. Right-handed pitcher Robert Crabtree was taken in the 21st round by the San Francisco Giants and left-hander Nathan Rice went in the 23th round to the St. Louis Cardinals.


Fick, a fifth-round pick, and Eric Gillespie, a 10th-round choice of the Angels, were drafted Tuesday.

At least 33 area players have been drafted so far, although the list includes only eight high school players. Junior Brignac of Cleveland High, Brent Egan of Royal and Gabe Crecion of Chaminade were the only high school players from the region drafted in the first 19 rounds.

“The draft-and-follow high school guys will go [today],” one area scout said. “There wasn’t much high school talent in the Valley and the first two days reflect that.”

Northridge, which set a school record this season with 52 victories, had more to offer. Although only Crabtree is a senior among the five who were drafted, all are expected to sign.


“I don’t have all the bargaining power in the world, but I’d like to take a shot sooner than later,” Airoso said.

Airoso, who batted .281 as the Matador center fielder, might be converted to second base. He played shortstop at Tulare High.

Rice, who improved steadily and had an impressive six-inning stint against Florida State in the West Regional, also said he will sign. The Cardinal scout who drafted him is Chuck Fick, Robert’s brother.

“I was told I’d go around the 20th round, so I’m not surprised,” Rice said. “But I am very happy.”


Less pleased was Rick Nadeau, a College of the Canyons outfielder who has signed a letter of intent to attend Northridge. Some scouts projected he would be drafted in the first 20 rounds, but as of Wednesday night, no word.

“Looks to me like I’ll be going to CSUN, and that’s fine,” Nadeau said.