MORAGA, Calif. -- After being drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 23rd round of the 2014 Major League Baseball First-Year Player Draft, Saint Mary's first baseman/outfielder Collin Ferguson had a chance to take the leap and begin his pro career.
Instead, the talented corner man and middle of the order bat has decided he will return to Saint Mary's for his senior season, electing to continue his role as a leader and run producer for a Gaels team looking to continue the building process under second-year head coach Eric Valenzuela.
"I definitely really clicked with our coaching staff. I think we share a lot of the same core values on how you go about the game and baseball philosophy," Ferguson said. "I've always said it was a win-win decision. I felt like both (returning and going pro) were good options for me. It's not 100 percent what I wanted to do but it is 100 percent a good decision in my mind."
A career .287 hitter in three seasons in Moraga, Ferguson led the Gaels in RBI last season with 27. The Santa Cruz, Calif. native has led the team in doubles each of the last three seasons, ranks third in program history with 47 and sits just 10 behind all-time leader Delaney Gallagher (2003-06).
Looking beyond the stats, Ferguson has firmly established himself as one of the Gaels' most respected leaders both on and off the diamond. He has played all 55 games each of the last two seasons and has started 152 of the 159 games he's appeared in.
"This is a big deal for us," Valenzuela said. "We want our players to feel like they're part of building a winning culture that will last well beyond their time here. I think Collin knows he has a chance to play a big role in creating that and for him to want to come back as a senior and delay his pro career shows his commitment as a leader for Saint Mary's Baseball moving forward."
And, Ferguson is already looking forward to 2015. After playing this summer with the San Luis Obispo Blues, he'll return to Saint Mary's in the fall and begin working toward earning his degree in Business Administration. He's also got his eye on improvements between the white lines, and is looking forward to another season of improvement before venturing into the world of professional baseball.
"Coach Valenzuela, coach (Mark) Viramontes, coach (Matt) Fonteno and the entire coaching staff really did their best to move us in the right direction," Ferguson said. "Were the results there? No, but it didn't mean we didn't make strides in terms of how we went about our business ... I think there are leaps and bounds we're going to be able to make next year."