June 4, 2012
LOS ANGELES - UCLA junior outfielder Jeff Gelalich was selected by the Cincinnati Reds as the No. 57 overall pick in the supplemental first round of the 2012 MLB Draft on Monday evening.
Gelalich leads UCLA (45-14) with a .372 batting average, the second-highest mark in the Pac-12 Conference, and has belted a team-leading 11 home runs in all 59 games. The native of La Verne, Calif., becomes the 18th UCLA ballplayer selected in the first round or supplemental first round of the MLB Draft.
"You always dream about this happening, and when it does, you don't know what to do," Gelalich said. "It's definitely surreal. This is what I have worked for my whole life. This is what I've dreamed of doing, and it's what I've wanted to do. I feel really blessed."
Gelalich belted two home runs, going 3-for-4 with four RBI, to lead the Bruins past Creighton, 13-5, in the NCAA Los Angeles Regional final on Sunday night. The Bruins are preparing for an NCAA Super Regional matchup against TCU (40-20) at Jackie Robinson Stadium beginning Friday at 6 p.m. (PT).
"It's been a fun 24 hours," Gelalich said. "But as soon as I go to bed tonight, it's over with. It's back to work Tuesday, and we have to be ready to play TCU this weekend."
Gelalich becomes the third UCLA ballplayer selected in the first round or supplemental round over the last two seasons. The Bruins' right fielder is the fourth player selected in the first round or supplemental first round during head coach John Savage's eight-year tenure at UCLA (also Gerrit Cole and Trevor Bauer in 2011, and Dave Huff in 2006).
"Our program is very excited for Jeff and his family," Savage said. "He has been a very good player for us the last three years, and he's had a great junior season. He's been one of our captains this year, leading us into the position that we're in this week. The guy has worked extremely hard in the offseason and made himself better."
The 2012 MLB Draft continues with rounds 2-15 on Tuesday, starting at 9 a.m. Rounds 16-40 take place on Wednesday, beginning at 9 a.m.