Jensen among three Warriors named to All-GSAC baseball team
John Jensen followed his heart home, and it brought him to a major reward on Wednesday.
The former Santa Barbara High star was one of three Westmont College baseball players named to the All-Golden State Athletic Conference team.
The senior outfielder was selected along with Simon Reid and Thomas Rudinsky. Reid was also chosen as the league’s Freshman of the Year while shortstop Robbie Haw received a Gold Glove Award for his defensive prowess.
Jensen, who was also a league MVP when he played for Santa Barbara City College, returned to town after having played two seasons at Big West Conference power UC Irvine. He responded by hitting .322 with a team-best 13 home runs and OPS (combined on-base and slugging percentages) of 1.077.
“The thing that stands out about John is how grateful he’s been for his time here,” coach Robert Ruiz said. “He’s expressed that to us continuously, and for him to come home and make the most out of this has been awesome.
“He’s definitely not taken a single day for granted and he’s made the most of every opportunity he’s been given.”
Reid, Westmont’s starting catcher, leads the Warriors with a batting average of .377. He shares the team lead with 16 doubles and has an OPS of 1.030.
Rudinsky has hit nine homers, leading to an OPS of 1.073. He also has 34 RBIs and 13 stolen bases.
Haw earned his Gold Glove while compiling 55 putouts and 101 assists with a fielding percentage of .940.
“This is a really good conference,” Ruiz said. “To get honored in any way is special. Every single guy who has their name on that list has earned it. It’s not an easy path and they were all up against some extremely talented players.”
Westmont will play host to a five-team, Opening Round Regional of the NAIA Tournament beginning May 17.
Gauchos sweep All-Big West awards
UCSB dominated the All-Big West Conference voting for tennis, with both men’s coach Marty Davis and women’s coach Simon Thibodeau receiving Coach of the Year honors.
Their top players also got top awards, with senior Joseph Guillin winning the Big West Men’s Player of the Year Award and junior Shakhnoza Khatamova gaining the same honor for the women.
Guillin, who made the All-Big West first team in singles for the third-straight time, has posted a 9-2 record at UCSB’s No. 1 spot.
“Joseph is clearly one of the best players on the West Coast,” Davis said. “Because it seems like it’s been so long, it’s easy to forget that he won the ITA Southwest Regional championship and he won a match in the NCAA Tournament in 2019.”
Juniors Victor Krustev and Stefano Tsorotiotis were named to the All-Big West Second Team, while freshman Pablo Masjuan received honorable mention.
Tsorotiotis and Alejandro Vedri were picked to the first team in doubles while the team of Joseph Rotheram and Krustev made the second team. Guillin and Kai Brady received honorable mention for doubles.
Davis was named Big West Coach of the Year for the 13th time. He will lead his league-champion Gauchos into a first-round NCAA Tournament match against Pepperdine at 10 a.m. Friday at USC’s David X. Marks Tennis Stadium.
Khatamova led the 48th-ranked Gaucho women to their third Big West Tournament title since 2016 by sweeping all three of her matches. She enters Friday’s NCAA Tournament match against Stanford with a 15-2 overall record, all at No. 3 singles, and a 12-match winning streak.
Teammate Camille Kiss was named Big West Freshman of the Year. She and Khatamova were joined on the all-conference first team by senior Elizaveta Volodko.
Thibodeau claimed his first Big West Coach of the Year award after leading the Gauchos to their third straight conference regular season title with an 8-0 record. His Gauchos became the first tournament champion to not surrender a point since 2008.
Every player on UCSB’s roster was recognized on the all-conference teams — a first for the program.
“They really stepped up physically and mentally, and kept getting better as a team,” Thibodeau said. “Just a few months ago, everything was up in the air. We didn’t know if we could even put six players on the court. Winning the conference and all these awards really brighten up this difficult COVID-19 year.”
The Gauchos will open NCAA Tournament play at 10 a.m. Friday with a match against Stanford at Pepperdine.
Record 212 Gauchos make honor roll
UCSB placed a record 212 student-athletes on its Athletics Director Honor roll following the winter quarter, the school announced on Wednesday.
The honor roll includes all student-athletes with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 3.00 and a minimum 3.50 during the winter quarter.
“It is a great testament to the type of students we have in our programs,” director of athletics John McCutcheon said. “Obviously, it takes a great effort from the student-athletes, but also from the coaches and academic support staff to achieve at such a high level.”