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Stevenson leads Anteater attack

• Former COC and Saugus star continuing to shine at Division I level

Posted: June 8, 2008 1:56 a.m.
Updated: August 9, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
For the first 21 games of the season Casey Stevenson was forced to just sit and watch.

Because of eligibility issues with the NCAA Clearinghouse, the former Saugus and College of the Canyons star didn't get the bat off his shoulders.

But now, as his University of Irvine baseball team closes in on a spot in the College World Series, Stevenson is a major contributor.

He had a stand out performance for the Anteaters in the title clinching win over Oral Roberts in the Lincoln Regional on June 1, going 3-for-4, in the clean-up spot, and driving in the Anteaters first run with a sacrifice fly. He finished the day scoring three runs with two RBIs.

Overall in the regional, Stevenson hit .778, went 7-for-9, including a double, and had three RBIs in three games to lead UCI to a 3-0 record in action.

"It's awesome," said Stevenson of making it to the Super Regionals, where Irvine topped LSU in Game 1 of its three game series Saturday.

Stevenson was again a factor.

He finished the day 1-for-4 with a double, a walk, and one run scored.

Before coming to Irvine, Stevenson spent one year with the College of the Canyons and finished his season with the Cougars accumulating 72 hits, third best in COC's history.

Stevenson was named an All-Western State first-team choice, batted .397 with 51 runs scored and amassed 48 RBIs as a Cougar.

COC head coach Chris Cota praised his former player and said it's exciting to see the progress he has made at the next level.

"He was a really good player as a freshman, a pure hitter," Cota said. "He's doing really great now and it's really fun to watch him."

Stevenson, though, said the move to the Division I level was essential in developing his skills.

"It's a whole different game at this level," he said. "It's much cleaner and I've learned a lot more this season. We have a great coaching staff and I'm grateful for the opportunity to play for such a good school."

Now Stevenson looks to make it to Omaha, Neb. and the College World Series.

Last season the team, sans Stevenson, made it to Omaha and finished in third place.

Stevenson, who is majoring in sociology, said he wants to take his game as far as possible, and with the recent draft announcements of old Saugus teammates, he said he's anxious to move to the next level.

"For any baseball player it's a dream to be drafted," he said. "I love the game and I want to continue to play as long as possible."

The opportunity to go pro will be an option for Stevenson next year as he will then be eligible for the draft.

In the meantime, Stevenson will continue to progress his game, he is batting .300 for UCI.

And Cota said he has what it takes to be successful at the next level.

"He has the chance to be a five tool player," Cota said. "He really is a special player."

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