No. 14 UCSB Looking to Build Momentum, Travels South for Three-Game Set at Long Beach State

Hector Lujan

Full release, including stats and player notes, in PDF format

• The Schedule
Thursday, Apr. 17 at 6:00 p.m. at Long Beach State (16-18, 3-3)
Friday, Apr. 18 at 6:00 p.m. at LBSU
Saturday, Apr. 19 at 2:00 p.m. at LBSU
All-Time Record vs. Dirtbags: 75-85
2013 series: Gauchos won series 2-1 @ UCSB
Long Beach State Streak/Last 10: Lost 1/4-6
Last UCSB series win overall/at LBSU: 2013/2006

• Probable Starters
Thursday: LHP Justin Jacome (4-1, 2.41 ERA) vs. RHP Andrew Rohrbach (4-1, 2.41 ERA)
Friday: RHP Austin Pettibone (2-0, 5.87 ERA) vs. RHP Josh Frye (2-0, 1.47 ERA)
Saturday: TBA vs. TBA

• UCSB Baseball on the Radio
All three games of the Long Beach State series will be broadcasted live over the air on AM 1290 – Santa Barbara News-Press Radio – and online at UCSBgauchos.com. Gerry Fall, the Voice of the Gauchos, will have the call for all UCSB Baseball broadcasts this season. For links to all UCSBgauchos.com broadcasts, click here.

• Pulse on the Polls
For the seventh consecutive week, the UCSB Baseball program made an appearance in national polls, ranking as high as No. 14 this week (Perfect Game). Elsewhere, they checked in at No. 17 in both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball, and No. 23 in the NCBWA poll.. After a week on the outside, UCSB re-entered the USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll at No. 23.

• RPI Report
After defeating Cal State Fullerton in a series at home for the first time since 1985, UCSB stayed put at No. 33 in the official NCAA RPI Report. Overall, the Big West Conference has five teams among the top 56 spots (Cal Poly: 12, Cal State Fullerton: 48, Hawai'i: 51, UC Irvine: 56).

• Nail Clippers Not Necessary
Of UCSB's nine Big West conference games, all but one have been decided by two runs or less. The Gauchos have proved their resolve in close games this season, going 9-2 in one-run games, with both losses coming at Cal Poly earlier this month.

• Historic Start
Despite losing their first two conference series, UCSB is still off to its best overall start since the 2001 Gauchos, who also went 23-8 over their first 31 games.

• Recognizable Relievers
UCSB is an undefeated 17-0 this year when leading after six innings, and the seasons of closer Dillon Tate and Greg Mahle have helped the team to that figure. Tate allowed an earned run for the first time in 2014 last weekend, but still has an ERA of just 0.92 and is averaging over a strikeout per inning while ranking second in the Big West with eight saves. Mahle, UCSB's workhorse, ranks second on the team in innings pitched despite having made no starts and has made multiple appearances in five of the last six series. He and Tate (twice) are the only UCSB pitchers to make multiple appearances in a series this season.

• Jumping Out
Thanks to a formidable top of the lineup, UCSB has severely outscored its opponents in the first inning of ball games this year (23-6). This his worked out well for Coach Checketts' men, as the team is 16-1 this year when scoring first and 9-1 when scoring in the first inning.

• Quality Control
Andrew Vasquez's six inning, one run outing against BYU on Monday was UCSB's first quality start since Mar. 28, a span of eight games. That was the longest such drought for the Gauchos pitching staff since the 2012 season.  

• Under the Lights
Having played just six night games this season, UCSB is less familiarized with play under the lights than other teams in the conference. So far in 2014, the Gauchos bats haven't suffered at night, as the team has put together a .313 team average (compared to .307 overall) with several players such as Tyler Kuresa (.440 AVG), Cameron Newell (.423 AVG), and Robby Nesovic (.391 AVG) even thriving. However, UCSB's pitchers haven't been able to take advantage of the darker conditions, as the staff has collectively put together a 5.87 ERA in night games. Only one UCSB pitcher (Dillon Tate, unscored upon) has an ERA under 3.00 in night games so far this year.

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