Gauchos Host Loyola Marymount in Season-Opening Series

Junior LHP Ben Brecht will be the opening day starter for the Gauchos on Saturday. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Junior LHP Ben Brecht will be the opening day starter for the Gauchos on Saturday. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Saturday, Feb. 16 - Doubleheader at 10 a.m.
Sunday, Feb. 17 at 1:00 p.m.
UCSB Gauchos vs. Loyola Marymount Lions
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Lions: 73-64-2
The last meeting: Apr. 10, 2018 - UCSB def. LMU, 13-4

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Saturday G1: LHP Ben Brecht vs. RHP Codie Paiva
Saturday G2: LHP Rodney Boone vs. RHP CJ Fernandezees
Sunday: LHP Jack Dashwood vs. TBA

• Baseball is Back!
UC Santa Barbara begins the 2019 campaign this weekend, albeit one day later due to inclement weather. The Gauchos will host Loyola Marymount for a three-game series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, set to begin with a doubleheader on Saturday, Feb. 16 at 10:00 a.m. Game two will begin approximately 30 minutes following the conclusion of the season-opener and Sunday's game is set for a 1:00 p.m. first pitch.

• Gauchos on the Air
UCSB Baseball will be available to stream all season long through BigWest.TV. The Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, will be on play-by-play alongside all-time winningest UCSB Baseball coach Bob Brontsema handling color. An additional audio only broadcast will be available with UCSB Assistant Director of Operations, Kevin Cannon on the call. 

• 2019 Schedule
Including this weekend's opening series, the Gauchos will play 34 games inside the friendly confines of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. UCSB will host non-conference series against Hartford, Cal Baptist, Missouri State and Stephen F. Austin, while marquee midweek matchups include games against Pepperdine, Nevada, USC, CSU Bakersfield and Saint Mary's. 

• Opening Day
UCSB is 4-3 on Opening Day under head coach Andrew Checketts, and had won four straight before dropping last season's opener at San Diego State. Similarly, the Gauchos have won four of their past seven opening series under Checketts. 

• Home Sweet Caesar
The Gauchos have fared extremely well at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium under Andrew Checketts, crafting a .675 winning percentage (141-67-3) at home, over 20% higher than their road winning percentage over that same span (.455). 

• Big West Preseason Poll
In the annual Big West Preseason Coaches Poll, UC Santa Barbara was tabbed to finish fifth in 2019. Defending conference champions Call State Fullerton were selected to repeat with three first-place votes and 70 points while UC Irvine was second with four first-place votes and 67 points. Long Beach State (62 points) and Cal Poly (60 points), were ranked third and fourth, respectively, and each garnered one first-place vote apiece. After UCSB (49 points), Hawai'i (32), CSUN (29), UC Davis (19) and UC Riverside (17) round out the poll. 

• Key Returners
After having one of the youngest rosters in program history last season, the Gauchos return 23 players loaded with experience including seven starters from a year ago. Top hitters and 2018 All-Big West selections Tommy Jew and Thomas Rowan return to lead the charge as does middle infielder Andrew Martinez, who was drafted in the 33rd round by the Miami Marlins in the 2018 MLB Draft. Pitching depth will be an advatange this season as experienced starters Ben Brecht, Jack Dashwood and Chris Lincoln return to the mix. 

• Incoming Talent
Along with a large amount of returners, UCSB will have an influx of 17 talented newcomers, 11 of which are pitchers. The Gauchos came in at No. 39 on Collegiate Baseball's recruit rankings, giving them a nationally ranked recruiting class for the sixth time in seven seasons. RHP Grant Newton (Santa Ana, Calif.), RHP Michael McGreevy (San Clemente, Calif.) and LHP/1B Chazz Martinez (Newport Beach, Calif.) were tabbed as impact freshman in D1baseball.com's Big West Preview

• Did Jew Know?
Junior centerfielder Tommy Jew was the only Gaucho player to start all 56 games last season. The San Ramon, Calif. native hit .312 (68-for-218) with 5 HR, 41 RBI, 10 2B and 12 SB. Jew ended 2018 on a 15-game hitting streak that saw him go 22-for-61 at the plate (.361 BA).

• Coaching Crew
Over the summer, UCSB welcomed three new coaches to the staff. Former Washington assistant and recruiting coordinator Donegal Fergus signed on as the Gauchos associate head coach while former Saint Mary's assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Matt Fonteno joins UCSB in the same role. Last season's Director of Operations Dylan Jones was promoted to volunteer assistant coach, making way for new Director of Operations Emily Holland, previously at Washington.