UCSB’s Nelson named Freshman All-American

UCSB's Kyle Nelson

UCSB’s Kyle Nelson

Left-handed UC Santa Barbara reliever Kyle Nelson has been named to the NCBWA Freshman All-American Team, it was announced on Monday morning.

A Second Team selection by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, the first-year southpaw accrued a 3-1 record in his rookie season with the Gauchos to go along with an anemic 0.75 ERA, two saves, and 32 strikeouts over 36 innings pitched.

“I’m extremely happy for Kyle, he’s very deserving of this award,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “Our bullpen was a bit young and inexperienced this year, so for him to come in and throw up zeroes all year was huge for our team. With his success this year, I’m eagerly looking forward to watching to how the rest of UCSB career pans out.”

UCSB’s leader in appearances and relief innings, Nelson put together one of strongest seasons by a UCSB rookie pitcher in recent memory.

He was especially effective late in the season, as he ended the season by going 27 consecutive innings without allowing an earned run, a record for any Gaucho pitcher in the Andrew Checketts era. The last time the San Franisco native allowed a run was on Mar. 24 to Loyola Marymount, a span of 16 outings.

Not just a situational lefty, Nelson was arguably even better in long relief in 2015. His most effective outing of the season came on on May 3 against UC Davis, as he retired all 15 Aggie batters he faced in his five-inning outing while earning the victory in a tight 4-3 UCSB win. He also pitched at least two innings on seven separate occasions, allowing an earned run just once.

Nelson becomes the fifth Gaucho hurler to earn Freshman All-America status in the tenure of Checketts, widely considered one of the gurus of pitching in college baseball.