MLB drafts Quintana, Paulk; Eberhardt also signs

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The 2005 season was a difficult one for the CSUN baseball team as they finished with an abysmal overall record of 18-36, and 2-19 in Big West Conference play. Despite the team’s struggles on the field, the Matadors were still well represented in Major League Baseball’s first-year player draft this past June.

Two Matadors were selected in the latter rounds of the 2005 MLB draft: third baseman/catcher Alberto Quintana and junior first baseman/outfielder Michael Paulk. Paulk was drafted in the 13th round by the Colorado Rockies with the Toronto Blue Jays drafting Quintana in the 40th round.

A third Matador, senior pitcher Peter Eberhardt, was not drafted, but ultimately had his contract sold to the Blue Jays from the Mid-Missouri Mavericks, an Independent Frontier League organization.

“I wasn’t surprised at all,” said CSUN head coach Steve Rousey. “All three of them were very good players.”

Paulk, a Big West all-conference honorable mention out of Upland High School, batted .321 three seasons at CSUN, crushing 31 career home runs, 42 doubles, and 127 RBI’s. Paulk also had a 55-game hitting streak dating back to May 1, 2004 that stretched through March 22, 2005, setting a school record.

Paulk started 154 of the 160 total games he played as a Matador. Paulk, a pre-season All-American third-team selection and a 2005 Wallace Watch List top collegiate player, became the highest Matador selected since pitcher Bill Murphy, currently in the Arizona Diamondbacks farm system, was selected in the third round of the 2002 draft. Rousey described Paulk as “a very gifted hitter.”

Quintana, an all-conference first-team selection who came out of Village Christian high school, batted .349 with 55 doubles in 2005. Quintana was just as impressive in Big West play, starting all 21 games and batting .380.

Quintana red-shirted the 2003 season and was used at nearly every position, but spent most of his time at catcher and third base. Quintana finished his two-year stint at CSUN with a career .337 batting average while hitting 27 doubles and driving in 59 runs.

Quintana also had some big moments in his two years as a Matador. He hit two home runs in his first two games at Matador Field in a series against UC San Diego, with the second home run being a game-winning two-run shot for a 9-7 win.

Quintana then hit a grand slam in a 13-12 win against Wake Forest and hit another game-winning home run, this one against UC Irvine that gave the Matadors a 6-5 win. This season, Quintana hit safely in all six of his tries in the Matadors 19-7 win at UC Riverside on May 3, 2005.

“Quintana is one of the most gifted players,” said Rousey. “He’s one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached.”

Eberhart, who spent one year at Cerritos College and two seasons at the University of Arkansas, red-shirting his freshman year, started six games and appeared in 12 games for the Matadors in 2005 and ended up with a record of 4-6 with a 5.05 ERA and 59 strikeouts. Eberhart also pitched well in relief during the season, earning six saves. Originally a third baseman at Cerritos, Eberhart converted to a pitcher when he arrived at CSUN, and though he had a rough first year in 2004, he came back to have a decent season in 2005.

“He converted over the course of the season and figured out to be a pitcher,” Rousey said.

Quintana and Eberhardt join two other Big West Conference players who were selected earlier in the draft by the Blue Jays. Ricky Romero was selected in the first round with the sixth pick out of Cal State Fullerton, and Alex McRobbie, who was drafted in the 24th round with the 716th pick, came out of UC Santa Barbara.

Though Rousey said he is sad to see all three players go, he had nothing but good things to say about the three players.

“They were talented hard-working guys,” Rousey said. Our teaching relationship with them was good.”

Ivan Yeo can be reached at ivan.yeo.80@csun.edu