Gauchos Return Home, Host UC Riverside This Weekend

Stevie Ledesma (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Stevie Ledesma (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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The Schedule
Friday-Sunday April 27-29 at 3 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
UCSB Gauchos vs. UC Riverside Highlanders
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Highlanders: 27-32
The last meeting: April 30, 2017 - UCSB 6, UCR 5

• Projected Starters
Fri RHP Chris Lincoln (2-2, 2.08) Tossed 5.2 or more innings in last 5 starts with a 2.03 ERA.
Sat RHP Stevie Ledesma (4-2, 2.70)...Has won 4 of his 6 starts (4-1) with a 1.93 ERA over 37.1 IP. 
Sun. LHP Jack Dashwood (2-6, 5.23)...Has allowed 11 runs in 7.2 IP over last 2 starts.

• The Gauchos' Record
UCSB enters its weekend series against UC Riverside with an overall record of 18-17-1 and a Big West Conference mark of 4-5. Since their record fell to 4-9-1 after a 4-4 tie on Mar. 11 vs. Texas State, the Gauchos have gone 14-8. Included in the current run, were two wins over Cal State Fullerton and one apiece over USC, UC Irvine and UC Davis.

• The Week in Review
UCSB is coming off of a 2-2 week. On Tuesday, April 17 it earned a season-split with USC, posting an 8-5 win. The Gauchos lost two of three games at UC Davis over the weekend, falling on Friday, 4-3, Saturday, 5-3, and winning on Sunday 5-1. 

• Home Sweet Home
Following a run of seven consecutive road games, UCSB will return home for seven of its next eight games. The Gauchos host UC Riverside and Cal State Northridge in a pair of three game Big West series over the next two weekends. Sandwiched between the series vs. the Highlanders and Matadors will be a May 1 game at Cal State Bakersfield. UCSB will also play host to Pepperdine at 3:00 p.m. on May 8. The regularly scheduled game against the Waves will be preceded by the completion of a game that was suspended on Mar. 27 in Malibu with the score tied at 3-3 in the 11th inning. The resumption will begin at 1:30 p.m. 

• The Kids are OK
The 2018 Gaucho roster is one of the youngest in school history. UCSB has 15 freshmen and eight sophomores, a total of 23 underclassmen, on a roster of 32 players, 71.9%. Among field players, freshmen and sophomores have made 206 of 324 starts, 63.6%, and among pitchers, they have made 23 of the 36 starts, 63.9%, and 76 of 131 total appearances, 58.1%.

• A Sixth Sense
UCSB has outscored its opponents in the first, second, fourth, sixth and seventh innings this season. The opposition holds the edge in the third, fifth, eighth and ninth innings. The Gauchos' biggest advantage is in the sixth where they hold a 40-13 edge. They have also outscored the opposition 25-10 in the fourth inning. Santa Barbara's opponents hold their biggest margin in the fifth inning at 36-15.

• Rowan Gets Hot
Junior Thomas Rowan has started to heat-up at the plate and, to this point in the season, when he gets a hit in a game another is soon to follow. If you don't include his appearance as a defensive replacement late in UCSB's April 20 game at UC Davis, Rowan has gone 9-for-14 in the last four games in which he has batted, a gaudy .643 batting average. Of his nine hits, six were doubles and one was a home run. In the four games, he had three hits twice and two hits once. In the fourth game, he came off the bench and was 1-for-1. Getting multiple hits in a game is nothing new for Rowan. In the 18 games in which he has had more than one at bat in 2018, he has collected two or more hits seven times. His recent hot stretch has seen him move his batting average from .241 to a team-leading .319. He enters the weekend with a slashline of .319/.342/.486 and an OPS of .828. 

• Martinez Makes His Return...at the Plate
Freshman shortstop Andrew Martinez missed 10 games while recovering from a broken finger, but he returned to action in the series at UC Davis, starting all three games as the Gauchos' designated hitter. Martinez was injured when he was hit by a pitch on Mar. 30 in the middle game of the Big West-opening series against Cal State Fullerton. To that point, he had started at shortstop in all 25 games and was leading the team in batting average, home runs, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. In his first weekend back in the batting order, Martinez was 3-for-15 with one RBI and a stolen base. He is now third on the team with a batting average of .299, but he remains the leader in slugging percentage (.494), on-base percentage (.415) and OPS (.909).