Gauchos Play Two at UNLV; Home-Opening Series this Weekend against Hartford

Jason Willow (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Jason Willow (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

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KCSB Sports GauchoGameday: UCSB vs. Hartford

The Schedule
Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 6:05 p.m.
Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 2 p.m.
UCSB Gauchos vs. UNLV Rebels
at Earl E. Wilson Stadium - Las Vegas, Nev. 
All-time record vs. the Rebels: 17-31-1
The last meeting: Feb. 24, 2002 - UCSB def. UNLV, 3-2

Friday-Sunday, Feb. 22-24 at 2 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
UCSB Gauchos vs. Hartford Hawks
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium - Santa Barbara, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Hawks: 3-0
The last meeting: Mar. 13, 2016 - UCSB def. UH, 7-6

UNLV Series Probable Pitchers
Tuesday, Feb. 19: LHP Jack Dashwood vs. RHP Troy Balko
Wednesday, Feb. 20: TBA vs. RHP Ty Pohlmann

Gauchos Split Opening Series at LMU
After having its season-opening series relocated to LMU due to inclement weather for the second time in three years, UCSB won the opener 7-2 on Saturday before falling 9-7 on Sunday to eventually split the pair of games at Page Stadium. The Gauchos slugged their way to a victory on opening day, with three homeruns coming from Marcos Castanon, Tommy Jew and freshman Jarred Greene. In game two, UCSB jumped out to an early 5-0 lead before the Lions roared back for a 9-7 comeback win. 

Lights Out Lincoln
Junior righty Chris Lincoln was dominant in his first appearance of the season on Saturday, tossing four no-hit innings in relief while striking out five and walking one to earn the save. It was his first save since his freshman season after he became a starter as a sophomore. 

New Gauchos Make Debut
A handful of freshman made their debuts this weekend for UCSB, including a trio of position players that made opening day starts. Christian Kirtley (Highland, Calif.) got the start at second base, Kyle Johnson (Los Gatos, Calif.) started at first and Jarred Greene (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) started in left, and homered for his first collegiate hit. Freshman Rodney Boone (Orange, Calif.) got the nod as the game two starter, striking out four in four innings while Michael McGreevy (San Clemente, Calif.) made an appearance in relief. 

UNLV Preview
The Gauchos will continue their road trip to start the season at UNLV on Tuesday and Wednesday. UCSB is 17-31-1 all-time against the Rebels and Tuesday's meeting will be the first between the two programs since 2002. The Rebels took two-out-of-three in their season-opening series with Seattle, losing 4-0 in the opener before coming back for 11-10 (10) and 8-5 wins. Through three games, UNLV is led at the plate by junior infielder Bryson Stott, hitting .545 (6-for-11) with a homerun, triple, two doubles and five RBIs. A pair of right-handed freshman Troy Balko and Ty Pohlmann will be making their collegiate debuts against the Gauchos. 

Home-Opener with Hartford
UCSB will get to have its home-opener this weekend at Caesar Uyesaka after the rain made other plans last weekend. It will be just the second series all-time between the Gauchos and Hartford, after UCSB swept the Hawks in a three-game series in 2016. This will be the 2019 opening series for Hartford. 

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, both home and on the road, with UCSB Assistant Director of Operations, Kevin Cannon on the call. 

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's Big West Preview. 

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.