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College Baseball Countdown: 89 Days to Go- Andrew Calica

In case you’re just jumping on board here, catch an introduction post on our countdown to opening day here.

Under head coach Andrew Checketts, the UC- Santa Barbara Gauchos have come alive over the last few years. After not having made the NCAA Tournament since 2001, Checketts took them there in 2013. Then, in 2015, he did one better and led his team into a position to host a regional, albeit in a location several hours away from their campus in Lake Elsinore.

If the Gauchos are going to make a run back into regionals in 2016, it will likely be in large part thanks to the offensive exploits of outfielder Andrew Calica, who was a huge piece of the puzzle during their 2015 run.

Last season, the Chula Vista native hit .329 with a .445 on-base percentage, 13 doubles, and 15 stolen bases as part of an offense that relied on athleticism and getting on base more than raw power. This came one year after he hit .310 with a .408 on-base percentage as a redshirt freshman in 2014.

There would be considerable buzz and anticipation for Calica’s 2016 season if that was all the evidence we had on the table, but as it just so happens, he also absolutely lit up some of the nation’s elite pitchers over the summer in the Cape Cod League.

As a member of the Wareham Gatemen, Calica led the league in hitting at .425. That’s impressive enough on its own, but consider that his average was 61 points higher than the next-highest average in the league, Nick Senzel’s .364. In a pitching-dominated wood-bat league, that’s unbelievable. For good measure, he also led Wareham in RBI with 19 and stolen bases with 8. He was also tied for the team lead in runs scored with 17.

With all of the turnover the UCSB roster saw after last season, it’s easy to predict that the program will take a step back. After all, they will be replacing two of their three top starting pitchers in Dillon Tate and Justin Jacome, along with swingman Domenic Mazza on the mound. At the plate, they will also be without key pieces like Peter Maris, Cameron Newell, Robby Nesovic, and Dalton Kelly.

Those are significant losses, to be sure, but with how well Checketts has recruited, it wouldn’t be smart to doubt that the Gauchos will find talented players to fill some of those holes. Above all else, though, it really helps a rebuilding team to have one true superstar on the roster to build around, and UCSB certainly has that in Andrew Calica.




Joe Healy was first introduced to college baseball when he grew up watching the likes of Jeff Niemann, Philip Humber, and Wade Townsend pitch for Rice University. To say it was love at first sight would be an understatement. That love only grew as he went off to college at Sam Houston State University, where he practically lived at Don Sanders Stadium watching his Bearkats under the direction of the legendary Mark Johnson. He holds a B.A. in political science from SHSU and is working toward his Masters in Public Administration from SIU-Edwardsville in Edwardsville, Illinois.