Ninth-ranked UC Irvine suffered a significant blow this week, as the school confirmed that third baseman Brian Hernandez was ruled academically ineligible for the 2009 season. Hernandez, a transfer from JC of the Canyons (Calif.), was the Anteaters’ top recruit last fall after leading all California junior college players in hits (84) and doubles (26) while hitting .454 as a sophomore in 2008. Irvine hoped he would be ruled eligible and would slot right into the middle of UCI’s lineup this spring. The Anteaters don’t have much power in their lineup and could have used his physical presence and fluid, balanced swing, but they’ll have to wait until 2010.
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