SAN DIEGO - University of California San Diego slugger Zander Clarke was announced last week as a San Diego Hall of Champions (SDHOC) Star of the Month for May.
Clarke, a junior rightfielder, led UC San Diego to a 13-2 record and two trophies in the month of May en route to a return trip to the NCAA Division II Championship. The Newbury Park native (Newbury Park HS) and first-year UCLA transfer totaled an incredible 31 RBI for the month, getting all the way up to 86 for the season, a school record and tied for second nationally for all NCAA divisions as of June 11. Clarke hit a team-best .417 (25-for-60) over his 15 starts, with 18 runs, five doubles, seven home runs, 51 total bases, an .850 slugging percentage and .478 on-base percentage.
The Tritons swept through four games at the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) Championship in Stockton for their record seventh title, before also sweeping through four more games at the NCAA West Regional for a second straight year in Azusa to repeat as West champions. Clarke led both tournaments in RBI, with nine and 11, respectively. He was the catalyst at the regional, driving in a tournament-high seven in the opener, a 22-3 romp over city rival Point Loma on May 17. All seven came in just the first three innings, as Clarke hit a two-run home run in the first, a grand slam in the second, and an RBI single in the third.
Clarke, a unanimous All-American, as well as the American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA)/Rawlings West Position Player of the Year and CCAA Most Valuable Player, led the Tritons to a 43-17 record, their season ending May 30 as one of the last five teams left standing at the Division II national tournament in Cary, N.C. UC San Diego ended with a final Collegiate Baseball Newspaper ranking of No. 8.
Each month, the San Diego Hall of Champions honors as many as four professional, six amateur and six high school athletes as Stars of the Month for their outstanding athletic accomplishments. Stars of the Month are recognized in the San Diego Union-Tribune, via the Hall of Champions' app, social media channels and website, on-field at Petco Park prior to a Padres game, and at San Diego's premier sports awards gala, Salute to the Champions. They also receive a Breitbard Star of the Month Certificate of Athletic Achievement. Top-performing Stars of the Month can also earn Star of the Year accolades. Those considered are either from San Diego, or have achieved stardom for local teams.
Clarke makes it seven Tritons named as San Diego Hall of Champions Stars of the Month for the 2018 calendar year:
• Mikayla Williams, women's basketball (January)
• Tanner Syftestad, men's volleyball (January)
• Alex Eliopulos, baseball (February)
• Christian Bayne, men's basketball (February)
• Ciara Franke, women's swimming and diving, women's water polo (March)
• Robyn Wampler, softball (April)
• Zander Clarke, baseball (May)
ABOUT THE HALL OF CHAMPIONS
The "Hall" is dedicated to recognizing and celebrating outstanding local athletic achievement and providing sports programming for the community. The Hall was launched by the Breitbard Athletic Foundation, which was founded in 1946 by the legendary Bob Breitbard to recognize significant athletic achievement in San Diego. Through its awards and recognition programs, and vigilant focus on the community of San Diego and its betterment, the Hall is devoted to motivating and inspiring youth of all ages to reach their full potential. For more information, please visit www.sdhoc.com.