Anteaters show up on Top 40

UC Irvine has been ranked No. 34 in Collegiate Baseball's Top 40 preseason poll.

The Anteaters are led by American Baseball Coaches Assn. Hall of Famer, Mike Gillespie, who begins his fourth season at the helm in February.

UCI returns 17 lettermen, including first-team All-Big West Conference third baseman Brian Hernandez.

Other returners include Drew Hillman and Jordan Leyland, both of whom earned all-tournament honors at the NCAA Los Angeles Regional last year.

Hernandez tops the returners with 57 games played. He hiit .322 with 76 hits, 19 doubles and 44 runs batted in to help the 'Eaters finish 39-21.

Hillman batted .352 in 34 games with seven doubles and 19 runs batted in.

Leyland, who batted .301 with 13 RBIs for the Anteaters last season, had a standout summer in the Cape Cod League. As a member of the Cotuit Kettleers, Leyland was voted the playoff MVP after hitting .462 with a home run and six RBIs in seven playoff games.

UCI also returns Ronnie Shaeffer, who batted .318 with 55 hits and 31 RBIs.

UCI, second in the Big West with a 17-7 record last season, open against Nevada, Feb. 18-20, at UCI.

— From staff reports

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