Locals to play in Division 1 NCAA baseball tournament
By Haley Sawyer
Thursday, June 1st, 2017

The NCAA Division 1 baseball season is closing in on perhaps the most exciting part of the year: the College World Series.

Out of the 64 teams still hoping to navigate double-elimination regionals and best-of-three Super Regionals to get there, three will feature Foothill League products. Here’s a look at the local athletes hoping to punch a ticket to the championship game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

University of Arizona

In their 39th College World Series appearance, the Wildcats enter the Lubbock, Texas, Regional as a No. 2 seed after finishing as the national runners-up in 2016.

Three Foothill League products will be looking to get Arizona back to the World Series.

Valencia High alum Jared Oliva has 75 hits so far this season along with 53 RBIs and four home runs.

Fellow former Viking Luke Soroko and West Ranch grad JC Cloney bolster the team’s pitching staff.

Cloney has pitched 82 2/3 innings and allowed 75 hits while striking out 66.

Soroko has pitched 13 innings and allowed 17 hits while recording 13 strikeouts.

Arizona will play Sam Houston State on Friday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3.

UCLA

The Bruins are the No. 3 seed in the Long Beach Regional and play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday.

Nick Valaika, a Hart alum, has 18 hits and three home runs in 21 games as a redshirt sophomore.

Former West Ranch pitcher Jake Bird has pitched 51 innings and allowed 43 hits and recorded 39 strikeouts.

Jack Ralston, another former Indian, is on the roster as a redshirt freshman but hasn’t recorded any stats in 2017.

UCLA’s game against Texas will be on ESPN2 on Friday at 4 p.m.

San Diego State

The fourth-seeded Aztecs are also in the Long Beach Regional and will play host Long Beach State, the No. 1 seed.

San Diego State is coming off a Mountain West Tournament Championship win and has one Foothill League product on its roster: Chad Bible.

Bible played at Valencia and at College of the Canyons. This season with the Aztecs, he played in seven games and recorded seven hits and two RBIs.

The sophomore has also been undergoing treatments for stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

He was diagnosed with cancer on Jan. 10, according to stories on the newspaper’s website, and was scheduled for eight rounds of chemotherapy, administered every other week over a fourth-month period.

The Signal reached out to San Diego State Athletics but could not confirm that Bible will be making the trip to the Long Beach.

The Aztecs’ game will be on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. on Friday.

About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.

Locals to play in Division 1 NCAA baseball tournament

The NCAA Division 1 baseball season is closing in on perhaps the most exciting part of the year: the College World Series.

Out of the 64 teams still hoping to navigate double-elimination regionals and best-of-three Super Regionals to get there, three will feature Foothill League products. Here’s a look at the local athletes hoping to punch a ticket to the championship game at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska.

University of Arizona

In their 39th College World Series appearance, the Wildcats enter the Lubbock, Texas, Regional as a No. 2 seed after finishing as the national runners-up in 2016.

Three Foothill League products will be looking to get Arizona back to the World Series.

Valencia High alum Jared Oliva has 75 hits so far this season along with 53 RBIs and four home runs.

Fellow former Viking Luke Soroko and West Ranch grad JC Cloney bolster the team’s pitching staff.

Cloney has pitched 82 2/3 innings and allowed 75 hits while striking out 66.

Soroko has pitched 13 innings and allowed 17 hits while recording 13 strikeouts.

Arizona will play Sam Houston State on Friday at 4 p.m. The game will be televised on ESPN3.

UCLA

The Bruins are the No. 3 seed in the Long Beach Regional and play No. 2 seed Texas on Friday.

Nick Valaika, a Hart alum, has 18 hits and three home runs in 21 games as a redshirt sophomore.

Former West Ranch pitcher Jake Bird has pitched 51 innings and allowed 43 hits and recorded 39 strikeouts.

Jack Ralston, another former Indian, is on the roster as a redshirt freshman but hasn’t recorded any stats in 2017.

UCLA’s game against Texas will be on ESPN2 on Friday at 4 p.m.

San Diego State

The fourth-seeded Aztecs are also in the Long Beach Regional and will play host Long Beach State, the No. 1 seed.

San Diego State is coming off a Mountain West Tournament Championship win and has one Foothill League product on its roster: Chad Bible.

Bible played at Valencia and at College of the Canyons. This season with the Aztecs, he played in seven games and recorded seven hits and two RBIs.

The sophomore has also been undergoing treatments for stage 2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, according to the San Diego Union Tribune.

He was diagnosed with cancer on Jan. 10, according to stories on the newspaper’s website, and was scheduled for eight rounds of chemotherapy, administered every other week over a fourth-month period.

The Signal reached out to San Diego State Athletics but could not confirm that Bible will be making the trip to the Long Beach.

The Aztecs’ game will be on ESPN2 at 8 p.m. on Friday.

About the author

Haley Sawyer

Haley Sawyer

A Pennsylvania native, Haley Sawyer has covered sports across the country. She is a graduate of Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh and is the sports editor at The Signal.