No. 22 Gauchos Host Three-Game Set with Missouri State this Weekend

Eric Yang (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Eric Yang (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Friday, Mar. 22 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, Mar. 23 at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, Mar. 24 at 11:30 a.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UCSB Gauchos (14-3) vs. Missouri State Bears (5-13)
All-time record vs. the Bears: First Meeting
Last Meeting: N/A

Probable Pitchers
Friday: LHP Ben Brecht (3-0, 2.73 ERA, 40 K's, 29.2 IP) vs. RHP Logan Thomazin (1-2, 5.68 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Jack Dashwood (3-0, 2.70 ERA, 30 K's, 23.1 IP) vs. TBA
Sunday: LHP Rodney Boone (1-0, 3.27 ERA, 25 K's, 22.0 IP) vs. Logan Wiley (0-4, 6.20 ERA)

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 UCSB Assistant Director of Operations, Kevin Cannon this weekend. An additional audio only broadcast will be available with KCSB Sports Director Arthur Wilkie on the call. 

All Good Things Must Come to an End
Santa Barbara tied a program record 12-game win streak over the weekend, tying the record with a series-clinching 7-1 victory over Cal Baptist on Saturday afternoon. The record was set in 1984, and in its quest to surpass the mark, it proved to be an unlucky 13th as the Gauchos fell to the Lancers on Sunday, their first loss since Feb. 20. 

Poll Position
One week after earning a ranking for the first time since 2017, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team saw another rise in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, while making an appearance for the first time this season in a pair of other national polls. After a 3-1 week to improve to 14-3 overall, the Gauchos landed at No. 22 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll and reached the No. 28 spot in the NCBWA Poll. UCSB is also receiving votes in the USA Today Coaches Poll. 

Golden Gloves
UCSB leads the nation in fielding percentage with a mark of 0.988. The Gauchos have made just seven errors in 594 total chances through 17 games and find themselves all over the national statistical rankings. UCSB ranks fourth in triples (11) and triples per game (0.65), seventh in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.53), ninth in win-loss percentage (0.824), 16th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.92), 18th in sacrifice flies (13) and 20th in slugging percentage (0.469).

Scouting Missouri State
Coming off a 40-17 record and NCAA Regional appearance in 2018, the Bears of Missouri State are off to just a 5-13 start in 2019. This will be the first all-time meeting between UCSB and Missouri State, who lost to Big West foes Cal State Fullerton, 7-0, and two games to UC Irvine (3-2 and 4-1). In their last series, the Bears managed to top Oklahoma in Norman, 11-8, in the opener, but dropped its next two. Missouri State is hitting just .212 as a team, with its leading hitter, John Privitera batting .264. Logan Geha provides some pop with four home runs and 13 RBIs. The Bears pitching staff has a combined ERA of 7.65, with Friday's starter Logan Thomazin sporting a 1-2 record and 5.68 ERA. 

Midweek Matchup at Saint Mary's
After this weekend's series, the Gauchos will head north to face WCC opponent Saint Mary's. The Gaels are off to a 13-7 start and rank No. 2 behind UCSB with a .986 fielding percentage. The Gauchos are 12-6 all-time against Saint Mary's with the last meeting between the teams a 15-5 road loss for UCSB. The game will also be a homecoming for former Gaels assistant coach of five years and current UCSB assistant Matt Fonteno. SMC recently had an eight-game winning streak snapped by Nevada and plays a four-game set at Cal Poly this weekend. 

Hot Start for Yang
Junior catcher Eric Yang is playing some of the best baseball of his career, and leads the Gauchos with a .450 batting average (27-for-60), which ranks 11th in the nation. He has reached base in all 17 games this season has 11 multi-hit games to lead the team. 

Home runs = W's
UCSB is 11-0 this season when they hit a home run in a game. The Gauchos had a home run in their first eight wins of the year before being held without a home run in the first two wins at Tulane. A Tevin Mitchell grand slam and solo HR from Tommy Jew in Sunday's 16-6 rout over Tulane brought Santa Barbara back to its home run hitting ways. Nine different Gauchos have hit one through 17 games, and UCSB has a total of 19 homers to rank 39th in the nation. Jew leads the team with five while Armani Smith has four after hitting two in the CBU series. Andrew Martinez, Tevin Mitchell and Thomas Rowan all have two apiece. 

Series Openers
The Gauchos are 6-0 in series openers in 2019, scoring an average of 8.0 runs per game. UCSB will look to keep its opener streak alive this Friday against Missouri State at home with junior southpaw Ben Brecht on the mound. Brecht has started five of the six series openers and will start his sixth on Friday. 

Home Sweet Home
The Gauchos have fared extremely well at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium under Andrew Checketts, crafting a .684 winning percentage (149-68-3) at home, over 20% higher than their road winning percentage over that same span (.457). UCSB went 21-12-1 at home last season and is off to a 7-1 start at home in 2019.