Cleveland Indians promote ex-Gaucho Nelson
Pitcher Kyle Nelson, Shane Bieber’s teammate during UCSB’s College World Series run of 2016, rejoined the Cy Young Award candidate in the big leagues on Wednesday.
The Cleveland Indians selected the left-handed reliever’s contract from their alternate training site in Eastlake while having him exchange places with righthander Adam Cimber.
“He has a pretty good arm and a good tempo,” Indians interim manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said. “We’ll see when the opportunity arises and see what he can do.”
The Indians selected Nelson in the 15th round of the 2017 MLB Amateur Draft — a year after having taken Bieber in the fourth round.
“What I really wanted to see this summer was Bieber handing the ball to Nelly in a big-league game,” said UCSB coach Andrew Checketts, noting that the two pitchers live and train together during the offseason.
Bieber, 7-0, leads the Major Leagues this season in several pitching categories including earned run average (1.25) and strikeouts (94).
Nelson, 24, pitched out of UCSB’s bullpen in 2015 and 2016, posting 12 saves with an ERA of 1.44. He earned All-Big West Conference First Team honors as a sophomore when he set a school record by allowing no earned runs over a stretch of 49 consecutive innings.
Nelson went 6-4 as a starter for UCSB in 2017, recording a 4.51 ERA with a team-high 69 strikeouts.
He has pitched almost entirely out of the bullpen during his three seasons in Cleveland’s farm system, posting a win-loss record of 13-7 with 17 saves and an ERA of 2.07 over 122 innings.
Nelson received two promotions last year — from Single-A Lynchburg to Double-A Akron, and then to Triple-A Columbus — while recording nine saves, four wins and an ERA of 2.28. He also struck out 69 batters in 47 innings.
Three former Gauchos are now pitching in the Major Leagues: Nelson, Bieber and Dillon Tate of the Baltimore Orioles. They were all teammates for one season in 2015 when UCSB earned a top 16 national seed to play host to an NCAA Regional at Lake Elsinore.
— Mark Patton
Gaucho recruit gets four-star rating
Ajay Mitchell, who announced his commitment to play basketball at UCSB beginning in 2021, has been assigned a four-star rating by 247 Sports.
The national recruiting service listed Mitchell, a 6-foot-3 point guard from Belgium, at No. 113 in its top 150 list of collegiate recruits.
“It is 247Sports policy to not rank international prospects until they commit to an American college,” 247’s Josh Gershon said.
He said 247Sports evaluated him several times, most recently at the 2019 FIBA U18 European Championships in Oradea, Romania. Mitchell averaged 13.3 points and 3.1 assists for Belgium at that event.
“Mitchell has good size and length, a physically immature frame with plenty of room to gain strength,” Gershon said. “He’s a three-level scorer with upside as a playmaker in pick and roll.
“One of the top young talents in Belgium, Mitchell is a significant addition for the Gauchos program.”
— Mark Patton
Division 1 setter transfers to Westmont
The Westmont women’s volleyball team, fresh off its best postseason run in program history, has added depth and experience to its roster with the addition of setter Malia Yim.
As a freshman last season, Yim played in three matches and six sets at Division I school George Washington University before her season ended due to an injury.
Yim was granted a medical redshirt by the NCAA, and has four years of athletic eligibility to play volleyball for Westmont.
“Malia Yim was someone we had recruited when she was a junior in high school, but she took a different direction to play at George Washington University,” Westmont coach Ruth McGolpin said. “Malia, her family and I had always stayed in contact, and when the opportunity opened up for her to come back to Westmont College to play volleyball, I welcomed her with open arms.”
Yim is already academically involved at Westmont, having transferred to before the 2020 spring semester.
“As much as I was drawn into the Christian education and location of Westmont, the quiet and peaceful environment along with the kind people were really what drew me to the school,” Yim said.
Yim graduated from San Clemente High where she earned Most Valuable Player honors in volleyball as a freshman. As a senior, she was the team captain and led San Clemente to the Sea View League championship. She was also a First Team All-Sea View League selection.
“I am most looking forward to being a part of the (Westmont) team,” she said. “These women are so positive and supportive, and I am really excited to be a part of this family.”
Yim, who is undecided on her major, also participated with the Prime Volleyball Club.
“As a student-athlete, I hope to push myself and excel both on and off the court,” she added. “There are so many amazing life lessons and long-term benefits of being a student-athlete, and to be able to continue to develop those aspects at Westmont really excites me.”
As for her talent on the court, McGolpin is quite excited about that aspect of what Yim brings to Westmont.
“Malia is very talented, a technical-based setter, and has good flow to her sets, which are consistent,” McGolpin added. “What she also brings is a kind heart, a level head and a passion for the game.”
Yim is the sixth newcomer to the Warriors’ team, joining Jessie Terlizzi, Phoebe Minch, Jordan Cusator, Emma Galloway and Lilian Reininga.
Westmont is scheduled to begin its conference season on Feb. 2 against William Jessup after the NAIA and Golden State Athletic Conference postponed fall sports championships to the spring because of COVID-19.
— Gerry Fall