No. 7 Gauchos Take Nine-Game Winning Streak into UC Davis Series

Andrew Martinez (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Andrew Martinez (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Thursday, Apr. 18 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Friday, Apr. 19 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, Apr. 20 at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UCSB Gauchos (27-5, 5-1) vs. UC Davis Aggies (11-18, 3-6)
All-time record vs. the Aggies:23-19
2018 Series: UCD won 2-of-3

Probable Pitchers
LHP Ben Brecht (7-0, 2.75 ERA) vs. RHP Brett Erwin (3-3, 2.79 ERA)
LHP Jack Dashwood (5-0, 2.08 ERA) vs. RHP Jake Spillane (1-1, 4.82 ERA)
LHP Rodney Boone (4-0, 3.02 ERA) vs. LHP Chris Brown (2-3, 2.90 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 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. 

Last Week in Review
In the biggest series of the season, No. 14 UCSB swept past its first and only ranked opponent of the year, No. 15 UC Irvine in stellar fashion. It was the fifth sweep of the year for the Gauchos, who have now won nine in a row. In Friday's 4-1 win over the Anteaters, it was Thomas Rowan who shined the brightest, hitting two solo home runs as the Gauchos and starter Ben Brecht (7.2 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 8 K) got to UCI ace Andre Pallante and improved to 10-0 in series openers. On Saturday, Jack Dashwood delivered a gem through eight innings pitched, striking out seven and giving up just one run, while Andrew Martinez set the tone with a three-run home run in the first inning. Eric Yang also homered for UCSB in the 10-1 rout. Sunday featured another pitcher's duel between Rodney Boone and Trenton Denholm, the latter of whom took a no-hitter into the fifth inning. It was in that fifth inning, however, that UCSB would rally for all three of its runs after Armani Smith broke up the no-no with a double down the left field line, and McClain O'Connor tripled him home, followed by a Kyle Johnson RBI single and another triple, this time from Jason WillowChris Lincoln came on for his eighth save of the year and struck out the final batter with the bases loaded to secure the 3-2 win. 

Poll Position
After an impressive series sweep over a ranked UC Irvine program, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team saw a giant leap across the board in all the major polls. The Gauchos are ranked as high as No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, a jump from No. 14 from a week ago. In the Poll, UCSB jumped all the way to No. 10, a 13-spot leap from its No. 23 ranking last week. The USA Today Coaches Poll also gave the Gauchos a big jump from No. 21 to No. 10 while UCSB is now ranked No. 8 in the Baseball America Poll. Santa Barbara also cracked the Top-10 in the Perfect Game Poll, with a No. 9 ranking after they were No. 16 last week. 

Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 22-1 when hitting at least one home run in a game and 5-4 when failing to hit one. The Gauchos have already surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34), with 38 thus far with 22 games still remaining. Tommy Jew and Armani Smith are tied for the team lead with eight home runs apiece while Thomas Rowan is close behind with seven after he hit two over the weekend. Eric Yang and Andrew Martinez also homored in the UCI series and now have four apiece while Tevin Mitchell has three. Nine different Gauchos have at least one home run. 

National Statistical Leaders
The Gauchos are among the nation's leaders in numerous statistical categories, including leading the country in triples with 21. UCSB has two players among the top-10 in the category with Armani Smith ranking second with six and Tommy Jew ranking ninth with five. Santa Barbara also boasts the best winning percentage in the nation with a record of 27-5 (.844). UCSB also ranks second in sacrifice flies (27), fourth in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.50), fifth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.73), sixth in slugging percentage (.495), eighth in WHIP (1.13) and 13th in ERA (3.20)

Big West Play Continues with UC Davis Series
UCSB looks to keep it rolling into its three-game series at home against UC Davis. UCSB is 23-19 all-time against the Aggies and lost two-out-of-three last season on the road. UCD is coming off an 8-6 win over No. 2 Stanford in its midweek game and is 11-18 overall and 3-6 in the Big West, having just been swept last weekend by Cal Poly. The Aggies are led by sophomore infielder Tanner Murray at the plate, who leads the team with a .427 BA with one home run and 14 RBIs. The pitching staff is led by Friday starter Brett Erwin who is 3-3 with a 2.79 ERA. As a team, the Aggies hit .280 and have a team ERA of 5.76. 

Yang on a Tear
Junior catcher Eric Yang leads UCSB with a .393 batting average (48-for-122) while playing a premium defensive position at catcher, boasting a .996 fielding percentage and has thrown out 50% of base runners attempting to steal (8-of-16). The West Hills, Calif. native has four home runs and a team-high 34 RBIs while slugging .574 with an on-base percentage of .483. His .393 BA is good for 43rd in the nation. 

Series Openers
The Gauchos are 10-0 in series openers in 2019, scoring an average of 6.2 runs per game. UCSB will look to keep its opener streak alive this Thursday at home against UC Davis with junior southpaw Ben Brecht on the mound. Brecht has started nine of the 10 series openers and will start his 10th on Friday. Brecht leads the Big West and ranks fourth in the nation with seven wins and boasts a 2.75 ERA. 

No Place Like Home
UCSB is off to an incredible 17-1 start at home and have fared extremely well at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium under Andrew Checketts, crafting a .699 winning percentage (160-68-3) at home in the past eight seasons.