We continue the countdown today with number 47, UC Irvine INF Taylor Sparks. In his sophomore season with the Eaters, Sparks had a very impressive season starting in every game at third base. The 6’4” infielder finished second on the team in batting average (.360) and led the Eaters offense with 50 RBI. Sparks was voted a Collegiate Baseball “Louisville Slugger” third-team All-American and became just the second Anteater to earn Big West Field Player of the Year honors after leading the Big West in slugging at .581, total bases with 129 and tied for first with 10 home runs, which also tied for third-best in the UCI single-season records. Ranked 52nd in the nation in total bases and 61st in slugging, the third baseman led the Anteaters this season with 80 hits and 50 RBI. In the 27-game conference slate, Sparks led the Big West in batting (.422), slugging (.697), hits (46), RBI (32), home runs (7) and total bases (76).
The Long Beach, CA native attended St. John Bosco High School where he was a first-team honoree as a senior. After making great progress with the Anteaters over two very impressive seasons, the rising junior had the opportunity to represent his country during the 2013 summer as a member of the USA Baseball National Collegiate Team. Sparks led Team USA with a .396 batting average while recording 21 hits and driving in 10. The infielder had a triple and seven stolen bases and was voted the top American player of the 39th edition of the USA-Japan International Collegiate Friendly Series.
Sparks returns to UC Irvine for his much anticipated junior season and will definitely be a player to watch as the 2014 MLB Draft approaches.
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