Apr 07

Things are getting tight atop the conference standings after College of Idaho took three of four from visiting UBC.

Saturday: 10-5 Loss, 10-6 Win

Sunday: 8-1 Loss, 4-3 Loss


Game 1 Saturday:
1B Bruce Yari went 2-4 with a double, a run and and RBI.

Game 2 Saturday:
LHP Conor Lillis-White went six innings allowing a run on four hits with six Ks.
CF Bryan Arthur went 3-5 with two doubles and two runs scored.
Yari went 2-5 with a homerun and three RBI.

Game 3 Sunday:
LF Sebastian Wong went 3-4

Game 4 Sunday:
RHP Bryan Pawlina went five innings allowing two runs on eight hits with five Ks.
Yari went 3-5 with two runs scored.

We are now 23-9 overall and 14-6 in conference

We play Friday/Saturday (April 11/12) in Salem, OR against Corban College.

Apr 02

T-Birds alum Andrew Firth was one of the stars of the show at UBC Big Block night April 1, taking the Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy as the graduating male athlete of the year.

It’s the second time a baseball player has won the award, the first being Jeff Francis in 2002.

From gothunderbirds.ca:
BOBBY GAUL MEMORIAL TROPHY – Graduating male athlete of the year
Baseball player Andrew Firth joins the list of outstanding Thunderbirds who have won the Bobby Gaul Memorial Trophy as UBC’s graduating male athlete of the year.

A four-year starter for the Thunderbirds, Firth, who’s from London, Ont., finished off an impressive university career in 2013. He was a career .344 hitter, averaging 57 hits and 33 runs batted in per season. His season highs included a .382 batting average, 38 runs scored, 12 doubles, and 50 RBI. An infielder who played where ever he was asked was a conference Gold Glove winner in 2011 and a two-time NAIA West All-Star while helping the Thunderbirds to league titles in 2010 and 2011. Off the field, he was just as outstanding in the classroom, winning a place on the Capital One Academic All-America® College Division Baseball Team in 2013. He also earned Academic All-Canadian status at UBC in each of his four seasons. Firth also represented Canada at the 2011 World University Games.

Full Big Block recap


Apr 02

Conor Lillis-White‘s complete-game gem against Menlo College March 29 caught the attention of NAIA West officials who named him the Red Lion pitcher of the week.

FULL STORY on gothunderbirds.ca

Mar 30

Friday’s loss to Menlo College stung as the ‘Birds held a lead in the late innings and it also broke an 11-game winning streak. UBC rebounded with three straight wins over the Oaks to take the series and are tied for top spot in the conference with Lewis-Clark State.

Friday: 8-4 Loss

Saturday: 5-0 Win, 11-1 Win

Sunday: 6-3 Win


LHP Sean Callegari went seven shutout innings in Friday’s loss, striking out four. 2B Matt Spillman went 2-4.

LHP Conor Lillis-White CG shutout with 8 Ks in Saturday’s first win.  CF Bryan Arthur (Yankees draft pick in 2010) went 2-4.

‘Birds pounded out 14 hits in Saturday’s second win with SS Tyson Popoff going 3-4 with two runs and two RBI. Starting RHP Jeremy Newton went six innings allowing one unearned run.

RF Jerod Bartnik, DH Tyler Enns and Arthur each went 2-4 on Sunday with Bartnik and Arthur both scoring a run and driving one in. RHP Bryan Pawlina went six innings striking out five to improve to 3-1.

We are now 22-6 overall and 13-3 in conference. We travel to College of Idaho for four games next weekend (Sat-Sun).

Mar 25

3B Kevin Biro was recently featured as the Athlete of the Week on Breakfast Television; here’s the video:

BT Athlete of the Week feature

In addition to that, the ‘Birds got some extra screen time thanks to their behind-the-scenes antics during Kevin’s interview:


Mar 23

Sunday saw tripleheader action for UBC against the visiting Oregon Tech Hustlin’ Owls after the teams were only able to get one game in on Saturday. The ‘Birds claimed four more wins on the weekend and have now won 12 straight. Opponents have managed just 15 runs in the last eight conference games against UBC.

Saturday: 4-3 Win

Sunday (three 7-inning games): 9-0 Win, 2-1 Win, 5-1 Win


LHP Sean Callegari went eight innings with six strikeouts in a Game 1 no-decision Saturday.

LHP Conor Lillis-White went seven innings allowing one hit with 10 Ks in the 9-0 Game 2 win Sunday morning.
1B Bruce Yari went 1-1 with three runs and two RBI.

RHP Curtis Taylor got the Game 3 win in relief going two scoreless innings to improve to 4-0 on the season.

Yari went 3-3 with two RBI and two runs in Game 4.

More info is available in the Game Recaps on the ‘Birds Schedule on the UBC website

We are now 18-5 overall, 10-2 in conference.

We play at TRU Wednesday at 2pm in Kamloops, B.C. before hosting Menlo College next weekend (March 28, 29 30).

Mar 17

UBC outscored the Concordia Cavaliers 30-10 during a four-game road sweep last weekend and junior infielder Kevin Biro was named the conference player of the week for his 11-for-21 showing in the series.

Friday: 3-1 Win

Saturday: 11-2 Win, 2-1 Win

Sunday: 14-6 Win (12 innings)


LHP Sean Callegari went straight off the seven-hour bus ride Friday and worked seven innings, allowing one run while picking up eight strikeouts to improve to 2-1 on the season.

2B Matt Spillman picked up four RBI and cleared the bases with a three-run triple in the first game Saturday

RHP Bryan Pawlina got a no-decision but went seven innings in Saturday’s second game, allowing three hits and one run while striking out eight

C Cam Firth clutched up with a two-out double in the top of the ninth that drove in the winning run in the second game Saturday

3B Kevin Biro went 4-7 with 4 RBI Sunday

RHP Curtis Taylor worked all three days totaling 3.2 IP, 4K, 1BB 1 Sv

More info is available in the Game Recaps on the ‘Birds Schedule on the UBC website

NEXT GAMES: DH Wednesday, March 19 vs. Thompson Rivers

NEXT CONFERENCE GAMES: Saturday/Sunday March 22/23 vs. Oregon Tech at Thunderbird Park

Mar 13

UBC hosted Okanagan College Wednesday afternoon at Thunderbird Park and got some nice performances from six freshman starters in a 4-0 win over the Coyotes.


Starter Sean Callegari goes 2 inn, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 K, 1 BB

Reliever Jeremy Newton goes 2 inn, 0 runs, 1 hit, 4 K’s

Reliever Alex Webb goes 3 inn, 0 runs, 0 hits, 1 K, 1 BB

Reliever Conor Lillis-White goes 1 inn, 0 runs, 1 hit, 1 K

Reliever Tyler Gillies goes 1 inn, 0 runs, 0 hits, 3 K’s


2B Justin Orton 3-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI, 1 double

CF Tyler Enns 1-4

C Mackenzie Parlow 1-3, 1 run, 1 RBI

DH Cam Firth 1-2, 1 run

Other RBI’s by 3B Nick Spillman and SS Turner Spears


‘Birds Schedule & Results

Jan 22

Recent News:

Callegari and Kral named Red Lion Players of the Week
Vancouver, BC – UBC Thunderbirds Sean Callegari and Jeremy Kral have been named the Red Lion Baseball Pitcher and Player of the Week for April 15-21.

Callegari, a junior from Richmond, BC, was named the Pitcher of the Week allowing just two hits over seven innings to an Oregon Tech team that averages 9.5 hits a game. He struck out nine batters and gave up only two walks, earning the victory in a 3-1 win for the Thunderbirds in game two of Saturday’s doubleheader versus the Hustlin’ Owls. He improved his record to 4-1 on the year.

Kral picked up Player of the Week honours thanks to an impressive weekend against Oregon Tech. The Prince George, BC native drove in 10 runs (nearly half of his season total of 22) to lead UBC to three victories over the Huslin’ Owls this past weekend. The transfer from Douglas College went 7-13 (.539 avg) in four games with two home runs, 10 RBI, four runs scored, and a stolen base. He entered the weekend with a .260 batting average, but after his performance over the four game series raised it to .292 on the year.

With the three wins this weekend UBC improved to 17-7 in NAIA West Conference play and 23-14 overall. UBC wraps up the regular season this coming weekend in Lewiston, Idaho with a four game set versus Lewis-Clark State College.

Popoff wins NAIA West Baseball Player of the Week honour
VANCOUVER – UBC shortstop Tyson Popoff (Richmond, BC) was named the NAIA West Red Lion Baseball Player of the Week for March 25-31.

The third-year player led the Thunderbirds to a 3-1 record this past week against the Simpson Red Hawks in Redding, California.

Popoff went 9-for-18 from the plate with seven runs batted in. His hits included two double baggers and a home run.

He’s currently hitting .409 in 22 games this season and has also driven in 19 runs.

UBC (18-10) will have a bye this weekend and won’t see action again until April 9, when the team visits Seattle University (NCAA Division I) for a non-conference game.


Hardy to play for Canada at World Baseball Classic
Vancouver, BC – Former UBC Thunderbirds pitcher Mark Hardy (Campbell River, BC) was named to Canada’s roster for the upcoming World Baseball Classic (WBC). Hardy becomes the third UBC product to play at the WBC, joining Jeff Francis (2006) and Brooks McNiven (2009).

“I received a phone call from Greg Hamilton (Coach & Director of Canadian National Team) and he said I know it’s a little late, but we are inviting you to join the team for the WBC, if you are interested,” said Mark Hardy. “I was thrilled to be asked and obviously said of course. Originally I didn’t think I would have a shot because of all the major leaguers, but I guess some of them said no, so I’m excited for the opportunity to step in.”

Hardy was one of 27 players selected to the provisional roster, including 13 pitchers. He is joined by the likes of major leaguers Justin Moreau, Brett Lawrie, Russell Martin, Jesse Crain, John Axford, and Michael Saunders. The team will be managed by former Toronto Blue Jays catcher Ernie Whitt and will feature Larry Walker as the hitting coach and Paul Quantrill as the pitching coach.

“It will be a cool experience for Mark to be surrounded by the top players in major league baseball,” said UBC head coach Terry McKaig. “Just to be around that atmosphere and to get the opportunity to soak it all in will be an invaluable experience. Being invited to join the team is a direct result of his hard work and dedication and we are proud that he has become the third player from our program to play in the classic.”

Standing 6’4, the left handed pitcher played four seasons with the Thunderbirds and was drafted in the 43rd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft by the San Diego Padres. After missing some time last season with inflammation in his throwing shoulder, Hardy finished up the 2012 campaign with the Padres double ‘A’ affiliate in San Antonio.

“Last year had its ups and downs, but the shoulder came back to 100% and I felt I finished the season strong in double ‘A’, which I was proud of, “ said Hardy.

The 24 year old will spend the next month training with UBC in anticipation of the WBC. Not much changes with regards to his preparation because pitchers have always reported to spring training earlier then everyday players, so the timing should be the same. Currently he is doing long toss and eventually will start bullpen sessions before progressing to working off the mound in February. All in hopes of getting his chance to stare down some of the best hitters in the game.

“Because I was a late round pick, you go through the lower stages of the minors unnoticed,” said Hardy. “Hopefully if I get out for a couple of innings, people in the Padres system will see me and say ‘we have that guy?’. Maybe we will give him a longer look.”

Canada is one of 16 teams taking part in this year’s World Baseball Classic. They are in a pool with Italy, Mexico, and the United States and will play their three round robin games in Phoenix, AZ beginning March 8, 2013.

Canada Schedule
Friday March 8, 2013 vs. Italy, 11:30 am PST
Saturday March 9, 2013 vs. Mexico, 1:30 pm PST
Sunday March 10, 2013 vs. USA, 1:00 pm PST

For Canada’s complete roster for the World Baseball Classic, click here.

‘BIrds Baseball Recruit Recipient Of BCPBL Award
Vancouver, BC – The UBC Baseball program and the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) are proud to announce Thunderbirds recruit and former Langley Blaze Outfielder Aaron Horanski (Langley, BC) as the 2012 recipient of the BCPBL Academic/Athletic Excellence Award.

Horanski was the 2012 BCPBL MVP and top hitter during a dominant summer with the Blaze. He hit .416 with two home runs and 18 RBI in 44 games, leading Langley to a 39-9 regular season record.

The 18 year old was admitted to the Faculty of Engineering at UBC with a high school average over 90% and is presently taking a full course load while playing his freshman year with the baseball program.

The award of $6,000 annually, will cover his costs for tuition, feeds, and books. Congratulations to Aaron who joins 2011 winner Kevin Biro (Deep Bay, BC) on the ‘Birds roster.

‘BIrds Baseball Recruit Recipient Of BCPBL Award
Vancouver, BC – The UBC Baseball program and the British Columbia Premier Baseball League (BCPBL) are proud to announce Thunderbirds recruit and former Langley Blaze Outfielder Aaron Horanski (Langley, BC) as the 2012 recipient of the BCPBL Academic/Athletic Excellence Award.

Horanski was the 2012 BCPBL MVP and top hitter during a dominant summer with the Blaze. He hit .416 with two home runs and 18 RBI in 44 games, leading Langley to a 39-9 regular season record.

The 18 year old was admitted to the Faculty of Engineering at UBC with a high school average over 90% and is presently taking a full course load while playing his freshman year with the baseball program.

The award of $6,000 annually, will cover his costs for tuition, feeds, and books. Congratulations to Aaron who joins 2011 winner Kevin Biro (Deep Bay, BC) on the ‘Birds roster.

Sammie Starr Called Up To ‘AAA’
Vancouver, BC – Congratulations to former UBC Thunderbirds shortstop Sammie Starr (Toronto, ON), who today was called up to the Baltimore Orioles Triple ‘A’ affliate, the Norfolk Tides. He is expected to make the start tonight versus the Gwinnett Braves.

Originally drafted by the Orioles in the 34th round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Starr has played all but two games this season with the Delmarva Shorebirds of the class ‘A’ South Atlantic League. In 106 games with the Shorebirds, the 24 year old hit .238 with four home runs, and 41 RBI.

A defensive specialist, Starr has played second base, shortstop, and third base this year for the Shorebirds, managing just 17 errors in 476 defensive chances. That’s a sparkling .964 fielding percentage.

Starr played from 2007-2010 with the Thunderbirds, starting his final three seasons at shortstop.

Hardy moves up to ‘AAA’ to play for Tucson
VANCOUVER – Former UBC Thunderbirds baseball player Mark Hardy (Campbell River, BC) is one step away from the major leagues.

The 24 year-old left hander has been promoted to the ‘AAA’ level and will be playing for the Pacific Coast League’s Tucson Padres, the primary farm team of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball Club.

Hardy started the year pitching for ‘A’ Lake Elsinore and then moved up to ‘AA’ San Antonio before a shoulder injury sidelined him for a couple of months.

As part of his rehabilitation, Hardy appeared in one Rookie ball game before moving to the short-season ‘A’ team in Eugene, Ore.  As part of the Emeralds, he pitched in Vancouver against the Canadians last month.

After one more appearance with Eugene, Hardy went back to Lake Elsinore, where he was throwing before getting the call up to Tucson.

Tucson is currently playing a series in Fresno, Calif., which will conclude with games on Monday and Tuesday night.  The team will head back to Arizona in preparation for a five-game home series against Colorado, which will begin on Wednesday.

Hardy joins Jeff Francis and Brooks McNiven as former T-Birds who have made it to the ‘AAA’ level.


Making His Mark
Vancouver, BC - Mark Hardy was back in familiar territory last week, on the mound at Nat Bailey Stadium. The 24 year old, who pitched for four seasons with the UBC Thunderbirds, was back in Vancouver as a member of the short season single ‘A’ Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest League on a rehab stint.

It has been a whirlwind two years since the San Diego Padres drafted Hardy in the 43rd round of the 2010 Major League Baseball Amateur Draft. He has played in five different leagues, represented his country twice, and been named the Canadian Minor League Pitcher of the year in 2011.

The native of Campbell River, BC is the midst of trying to get back into form after missing a couple of months due to an injury to his throwing shoulder.

“It was just a bunch of rotator cuff inflammation,” said Hardy. “I was out for a total of two months. I took three weeks off and then started to build my arm back slowly, pitching a couple of bullpen sessions and then a couple of simulation games. Finally I had one outing in Arizona (Rookie League) and now I’m up with Eugene to complete the rehab.”

Hardy pitched twice for the Emeralds against the Canadians in Vancouver. In three innings of work he allowed five hits and gave up one run. It was the first time he has pitched professionally back in his old stomping grounds.

“This is definitely nice to finally play here,” said Hardy. “When I was first with Eugene a couple of years ago I missed this trip and never got the opportunity to play here. It brings back some great college memories and it’s been nice to have my folks and friends in the stands to watch me play.”

Now in his third season of professional baseball, Hardy is forcing the Padres to take notice. Before the injury, the left-hander had made it up to double ‘A’ San Antonio where he had a pair of starts.

“When you are a 43rd round pick, there is the stigma that in reality you are just a body,” said UBC head coach Terry McKaig. “The club’s thinking is they will give you two years and if you don’t perform, you are expendable. Mark put himself on San Diego’s radar last year with a great season in Fort Wayne, throwing 129 innings, and proving he was worth the time and effort.”

After being drafted in 2010, Hardy had a crazy summer going from rookie ball, to short season single ‘A’, to long season single ‘A’, to double ‘A’, with stops in Arizona, Oregon, California, and Texas. Last year he spent the entire season with the Fort Wayne TinCaps of the single ‘A’ Midwest League. He went 11-10 in 19 starts, boasting an impressive earned run average of 2.78 and then helped win Canada’s first ever gold medal in baseball at the Pan American games. To cap things off, he was named the Canadian Minor League Pitcher of the Year.
“It was definitely a great year,” said Hardy. “The gold medal was a big deal. Getting to represent my country was huge and I will have memories to last a lifetime. Now the challenge is to get back to 100% and continue to improve.”

“Even though he had a setback, the Padres are willing to give Mark a lot more time to get healthy,” said McKaig. “There has been no rush whatsoever. They realize his potential and therefore just want him to get back to where he was and finish off the season strong.”

McKaig believes he is a part of the Padres long-term plan and has the ability to one day be a big league reliever. A lefty with four different pitches is appealing not only to San Diego, but every team in Major League Baseball.

Currently Hardy is back with Lake Elsinore in high single ‘A’ ball in the California league and is eager to get another opportunity to move up in the Padres system.

“I want to get back to San Antonio and prove I can pitch there on a regular basis,” said Hardy. “Obviously with the injury, I have to be patient, but I know I can do it.”

Former T-Bird Brown named C’s opening day starter
VANCOUVER – Former UBC baseball pitcher Eric Brown has been named the opening day starter for his Class-A team, the Vancouver Canadians.

Brown, who finished his time with the Thunderbirds last year, will start on June 15 in Spokane and on June 20, when the Canadians host their home opener at historic Scotiabank Field at Nat Bailey Stadium.

“It has been very exciting to see what the Vancouver Canadians are doing for baseball in Vancouver and in BC,” said UBC head coach Terry McKaig. “They are running a first class operation under Jake Kerr, Jeff Mooney and Andy Dunn.”

“To have a UBC baseball alumni named opening day starter and home opener starter is a big achievement for Eric and our program. We are very proud of all our professional players and I’m sure this is a big opportunity for Eric to show the Toronto Blue Jays organization what he is capable of.”

Brown, a native of Thunder Bay, Ont., pitched in 18 games for the 2011 Northwest League Champion Canadians before he was promoted to Lansing of the Midwest League.

Vancouver will play a five-game series in Spokane starting on Friday, June 15 at 6:30 p.m.

The C’s will then return to open up the 2012 home schedule on Wednesday, June 20 at 7:05 p.m. against the Tri-City Dust Devils.

-with files from the Vancouver Canadians


Briscoe becomes UBC’s 19th MLB draft pick
VANCOUVER – The Boston Red Sox made Keaton Briscoe the latest UBC Thunderbird selection in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The storied franchise chose Briscoe, a second baseman, in the 24th round, 751st overall, on Wednesday.

He is the 19th Thunderbird to be taken in MLB draft since 1997, when the baseball program was re-started at UBC.

The Milwaukee Brewers picked up teammate David Otterman in the seventh round on Tuesday.

“We are really proud of Keaton and congratulations to him on being selected by the Boston Red Sox,” said UBC head coach Terry McKaig. “It is a unique situation given he couldn’t play this year because of academic ineligibility, but he stayed dedicated to improving in the classroom and on the field this spring. He deserves this opportunity and we wish him luck as he chases his dream.”

The 6-foot, 190-pound Keaton was an integral part of the UBC team for two seasons.

He batted .318 in 100 career games with the Thunderbirds, hitting four home runs and recording 51 runs batted in. Briscoe also stole 25 bases and scored 77 runs.


Otterman drafted by MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers
VANCOUVER – UBC pitcher David Otterman (3rd, Coquitlam, BC) is the latest Thunderbird to be taken in the Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft.

The Milwaukee Brewers selected the left-hander in the seventh round (245th overall) of the draft today.

“It is a dream come true,” said Otterman. “As a kid you dream of playing in the MLB and this is one of the steps to get there. When it happened, i was shocked. I had to sit with my head in my hands for a couple minutes to try and let it sink in, and it still hasn’t.”

The 6-foot-3, 215-pound Otterman is UBC’s 18th MLB pick since the school’s baseball program was resurrected in 1997.

“A very exciting day for David, his family, and the UBC baseball program,” said Thunderbirds head coach Terry McKaig. “David has worked very hard at UBC for three years and we are proud to develop another high draft pick. This continues our trend of showing top Canadian players that attending UBC is both a great academic decision as well as a path in baseball that can lead to a pro career.”

Otterman started 13 games for the Thunderbirds in the 2012 NAIA baseball season, going 5-4 with a 2.96 earned run average (ERA) in 76 innings pitched.

He gave up just 52 hits this year, holding his opponents to a .196 batting average. Otterman ranked 18th in the NAIA in that statistical category.

In his three seasons at UBC, Otterman started 20 games and appeared in 15 others as a reliever. His record is 8-7 with a 2.86 ERA.

“When i got to UBC, I was a long from where i am today. It’s a testament to the coaching staff at UBC because it shows that they can take young ballplayers (like myself) and shape them into professionals. There is no question that i wouldn’t be in the position i am today without the program at UBC,” said Otterman.

“David now gets to realize his childhood dream of playing professional baseball. He will need some time to develop in the minors, but we really think he is capable of doing some special things in the next three to five years of his professional career,” said McKaig.

The 40-round MLB draft will conclude on Wednesday.


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UBC Baseball | (P) 604-822-4720 (F) 604-822-6011 | Head Coach Terry McKaig tmckaig@interchange.ubc.ca