UCI's Sparks named to USA Baseball national collegiate team

UC Irvine sophomore Taylor Sparks, who shared Big West Conference Field Player of the Year honors in 2013 and was named third-team All-American by Collegiate Baseball, has been named to the USA Baseball national collegiate team.

"It is sensational that Taylor Sparks' great progress has been noted by the USA national collegiate team staff and that he has been invited to be a member of the team for the summer of '13," said UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, who managed the 2000 squad. "What a great honor and opportunity for Taylor, and well-deserved. Everyone in the UCI baseball family is proud of Taylor."

Sparks, a third baseman, led the Big West in slugging at .581, total bases with 129 and tied for first with 10 regular-season home runs. He led the 'Eaters with 80 hits and 50 runs batted in.

In 27 conference games, Sparks led the Big West in batting (.422), slugging (.697), hits (46), RBIs (32), home runs (seven) and total bases (76).

"I feel honored to be chosen to represent Team USA this summer," said Sparks. "I've only traveled out of the country to Canada for summer ball, so I'm excited to experience international baseball."

The collegiate national team will be managed by TCU skipper Jim Schlossnagle, whose staff includes head coaches Tim Esmay (Arizona State), Mike Bianco (Ole Miss), Ed Servais (Creighton) and bullpen coach Brett Basham.

The team will train at the USA Baseball National Training Complex in Cary, N.C. from June 21 to July 2 before traveling to Japan to compete in the 39th USA vs. Japan Collegiate All-Star Series, July 6-11. Team USA is also expected to take on Cuba in a series to conclude the summer.

Sparks joins Anteater alumnus Scott Gorgen as the only two UCI players to earn a spot on the roster.

— From staff reports

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