Gauchos to hire Oregon assistant for baseball job

UCSB is hiring Oregon assistant coach Andrew Checketts as its new head baseball coach, according to a published report.

Baseball America, citing two unnamed sources, reported that Checketts, the highly respected pitching coach for the Ducks, agreed to accept the job on Saturday. The Eugene Register -Guard ran a story on Checketts’ departure on Sunday.

UCSB has set up a press conference for Wednesday at noon to announce the new coach.

Checketts would replace Bob Brontsema, who was reassigned to an administrative position in the athletic department after 18 years at the helm.

Checketts was handpicked by Oregon head coach George Horton to join his staff in 2007, when Oregon resurrected its baseball program after a 27-year hiatus. He had been working as the pitching coach at UC Riverside in the Big West.

Horton has said he regards Checketts as one of the best pitching coaches in the nation.

At Oregon, Checketts mentored a pitching staff that ranked third in the nation with a 3.29 earned-run average. In the past three years, nine Oregon pitchers have been selected in the major league draft, including left-hander Tyler Anderson, who earlier this month became the Ducks’ first first-round pick since 1972.

In his coaching career at UC Riverside and Oregon, Checketts has had 21 pitchers selected in the MLB First-Year Player Draft, with five making it to the Major Leagues. Most recently, former UC Riverside Highlander Dan Runzler — a 2007 draft pick of San Francisco — won a World Series championship with the San Francisco Giants.

At UC Riverside, Checketts was part of a Big West championship team in 2007.

In that year, he had seven pitchers drafted or sign pro contracts, including three drafted in the top 10 rounds.

Besides his diligent work with pitchers, Checketts is recognized as a good recruiter.

At Oregon, the last three recruiting classes were ranked in the top 25 nationally. The 2010 freshman class was ranked fifth in the nation by Baseball America’s annual evaluation, and third in the nation by Collegiate Baseball.

Checketts is very familiar with talent-rich Southern California. He began his coaching career at Riverside Community College, where he served as pitching coach under Dennis Rodgers and helped the team to their second consecutive California State Championship in 2001.