GSA Spotlight: Cal’s Andrew VaughnGolden Spikes Spotlight
Sometimes players simply shatter expectations.
That would be California sophomore first baseman Andrew Vaughn, whose rise up the college baseball ranks began last season, while his overall story as a budding baseball player began well before he stepped on campus in Berkeley.
California head coach Mike Neu remembers recruiting Vaughn out of high school in Santa Rosa, Calif., well. Neu spent the last two seasons as the head coach at Pacific. However, he was an assistant for the Golden Bears before that and recruited Vaughn as a sophomore. Way back then, Neu, former Cal coach Dave Esquer and other Golden Bears staffers saw impressive potential. They saw a high school hitter with a consistent, mature approach and swing, and they saw a guy they believed would hit for a good average in college.
What Neu didn’t see was his ability to hit for big-time power at the collegiate level, something that he mastered last season as a freshman, and continues to make serious strides with as a sophomore so far this season. How so? He hit 12 home runs last season, and after hitting another home run against San Francisco on Tuesday, is tied with NC State’s Brett Kinneman for the national lead with 10. He’ll easily eclipse last year’s mark.
“You know, we recruited him as a sophomore, and the reason we recruited him is we thought he’d have a chance to really hit at the collegiate level,” Neu said. “He had a flat swing and great hands at the time, and we honestly kind of compared him to Tony Renda, who excelled here.
“It was a short, flat swing and we knew he’d have a chance to be good. I never thought he’d develop into this, though,” Neu continued. “He was a guy, even when he showed up here, who had a chance to hit for a high average. But then that raw power started showing up. In recruiting, you never know for sure what you’re going to get, but it’s extremely impressive to see what he’s developed from a power standpoint. He had some power out of high school, but it wasn’t anything like this.”