UCSB Baseball Opens Season Against Cal State Bakersfield, San Jose State

Woody Woodward (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 18 at 2:00 p.m. vs. Cal State Bakersfield
All-Time Record vs. CSUB: 1-3
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
2013 series: N/A
Last meeting: W, 5-2 (5/27/12 @ CSUB)

Friday, Feb. 21 at 6:00 p.m. at San Jose State
Saturday, Feb. 22 at 1:00 p.m. at San Jose State
Sunday, Feb. 23 at 1:00 p.m. at San Jose State
All three games at Municipal Stadium in San Jose, Calif.
All-Time Record vs. SJSU: 44-50
2013 series: 3-0 UCSB at home

• 2013 in Review
The 2013 season was an unmitigated success for the UCSB baseball program, as the team finished tied for second place in the Big West Conference and earned a trip to the Corvallis, Ore. Regional of the NCAA Tournament, both firsts since the 2001 season. The team's success was especially impressive considering its 20-18 record through 38 games. Checketts led the squad to a 14-6 record, including six consecutive series wins, to close out the regular season. For the first time in school history, the 2013 squad went the entire season without losing a series at home.

• Rank and File
In its preseason poll, Collegiate Baseball ranked UCSB as the No. 39 team in the country. It was the first time appearing in a national preseason poll in over 25 years. In the preseason Big West Coaches' Poll, the Gauchos were tabbed to finish third in the conference behind Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly. Perfect Game tabbed UCSB to earn a share of second in the conference for the second straight year.

• UCSB Puts Together One of Toughest Schedules in Program History
Looking to build on their 2013 postseason trip, Coach Checketts and the Gauchos scheduled one of the toughest collection of opponents in school history for this upcoming season. Overall, UCSB's 2014 opponents have combined for 73 appearances in the College World Series and 12 National Championships. Six of the Gauchos' foes this year were participants in last season's NCAA tournament. In addition, they will play the last two winners of the College World Series and three of the last four finalists. Six of UCSB opponents this season were ranked in the preseason, including three in the top-10 (No. 1 Cal State Fullerton, No. 4 Mississippi State, and No.  9 UCLA).

• A Fond Farewell
The Gauchos are returning the vast majority of their roster this season, as all but two starting position players and nearly the entire pitching staff are back. However, UCSB will be without the services of shortstop Brandon Trinkwon and relief pitcher Jared Wilson this year, as both were taken in the 2013 MLB First-Year Player Draft. Trinkwon became UCSB's highest drafted position player since 2006 when the Los Angeles Dodgers took him in the seventh round. During his time with the Gauchos, he hit .347 as a sophomore, was a two-time All-Big West selection, and was called the "Best Defensive Player" in the country before his junior year by Baseball America. Wilson, a 19th round pick by the Minnesota Twins, struck out a lofty 10.72 batters per nine innings as a senior. Current UCSB first baseman Tyler Kuresa was also chosen in the 2013 draft by the Atlanta Braves in the 14th round, but chose to return to the Gauchos for his junior year.

• Prospect Watch
Tabbed as the No. 12 recruiting class nationwide when it was announced, UCSB's current sophomore class has a number of high-level prospects. Last year's closer Dylan Hecht and redshirt freshman Andrew Calica both were listed among Perfect Game's Top-100 Sophomore players, while Robby Nesovic is the reigning conference Freshman of the Year. The Gauchos also boast top-end sophomore arms in Dillon Tate, Connor Baits, Domenic Mazza, and Kenny Chapman, who all showed flashes of potential in their freshman seasons.

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