No. 6 UCSB Travels to UC Riverside this Weekend; Friday and Saturday's Games to Air on ESPN3

Jason Willow (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Jason Willow (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Friday, Apr. 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Riverside Sports Complex
Saturday, Apr. 27 at 6:00 p.m. at Riverside Sports Complex
Sunday, Apr. 28 at 1:00 p.m. at Riverside Sports Complex
UCSB Gauchos (31-5, 8-1) vs. UC Riverside Highlanders (13-25, 3-6)
All-time record vs. the Highlanders: 29-33
2018 Series: UCSB won 2-of-3
Watch: ESPN3

Probable Pitchers
LHP Ben Brecht (7-0, 3.21 ERA) vs. TBA
LHP Jack Dashwood (6-0, 1.75 ERA) vs. RHP Abbott Haffar (2-2, 4.25 ERA)
LHP Rodney Boone (5-0, 2.92 ERA) vs. TBA

Gauchos on the Air
Both Friday and Saturday night's games between UC Santa Barbara and UC Riverside will air on ESPN3 with Sunday afternoon's matchup airing on BigWest.TV. As always, you can hear an audio only broadcast brought to you by UCSB Assistant Director of Baseball Operations, Kevin Cannon, along with Max Kelton this weekend. 

Last Week in Review
Last week, the No. 7 UC Santa Barbara baseball team kept it rolling with a series sweep over UC Davis. The Gauchos eked  out a wild 9-8 win on Thursday behind a strong relief appearance from Michael McGreevy and a clutch two-run bottom of the eighth to take the lead. On Friday, Jack Dashwood twirled a gem with a complete game shutout, allowing just three hits, while Tommy Jew and Kyle Johnson both homered to lead the offense in a 7-0 win. On Saturday, Jason Willow hit his first home run of the season and UCSB held on for a 4-3 win. Monday's non-conference affair at CSU Bakersfield saw the Gauchos win 4-1 to set a program record with 13 straight wins. 

Poll Position
UCSB is consistently ranked among the Top-10 across all of the major polls, reaching as high as No. 6 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The Gauchos held steady in numerous polls after their sweep over UC Davis, holding at No. 8 in the Baseball America Poll and No. 10 in D1Baseball. UCSB jumped two spots into the Top-10 at No. 9 in the USA Today Coaches Poll, and also saw two spot jumps in the NCBWA Poll, now No. 8, and Perfect Game, now ranked No. 7. The highest ranking in UCSB history was No. 5 back in 1986, the last time the Gauchos won the Big West Conference Title. 

Record Streak
With a 4-1 win over CSU Bakersfield on Monday night, UCSB set a new program record with a 13-game winning streak. It was the second time this season the Gauchos had a chance to break the record after having its 12-game winning streak snapped against Cal Baptist earlier in the year. The 31-5 start is the best start in UCSB baseball history and the winning streak snaps the old record of 12 set in 1984. 

Dashwood Named Big West Pitcher of the Week
Sophomore left-hander Jack Dashwood was named the Big West Pitcher of the Week for the second time this season after his masterful performance against UC Davis last Friday. The 6-foot-6, San Diego native took a perfect game into the seventh inning and settled for a three-hit, complete game shutout in a 7-0 win over the Aggies. Dashwood (6-0) did not walk a batter and finished with five strikeouts. He is now third in the Big West with six wins and boasts a 1.75 ERA, the fourth-lowest in the conference.

Leading the Nation
The Gauchos are among the nation's leaders in numerous statistical categories, including leading the country in winning percentage (.861) and sacrifice flies (33). UCSB also ranks second in triples per game (.61), third in triples (22), fifth in WHIP (1.12), sixth in walks allowed per nine innings (2.78) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.31), seventh in slugging percentage (.495) and 10th in ERA (3.09). Individually, Armani Smith ranks fourth in the country with six triples, Chris Lincoln is seventh with 10 saves, and Tevin Mitchell ranks eighth with six sac flies. Ben Brecht's seven wins on the mound are good for 11th in the nation. 

Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 25-1 when hitting at least one home run in a game and 6-4 when failing to hit one. The Gauchos have already surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34), with 42 thus far with 18 games still remaining. Tommy Jew and Armani Smith have been taking turns with the team lead all season, with Jew currenly in front with nine while Smith has hit eight. Thomas Rowan is close behind with seven while Andrew Martinez has five and Eric Yang has four. 10 different Gauchos have hit at least one home run now after Jason Willow hit his first of the year in the UC Davis series.  

Big West Play Continues at UC Riverside
UCSB takes its 13-game winning streak into just its second conference series on the road this year at UC Riverside. The Highlanders are 13-25 overall and 3-6 in Big West play, having taken two-of-three against Hawai'i and winning one against UC Davis. In its other conference series, UCR was swept by CSUN. The Gauchos are 11-4 on the road this season, and took two-out-of-three at home against UCR last season, with two of the games going extra innings. UCR is led by Connor Cannon, batting .342 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs while Dean Miller is another power bat with a .331 average and 10 home runs and 31 RBIs. UCR hits .264 as a team while opponents hit .321 against them. The Highlanders have a 6.98 ERA as a team and the only designated starter for this weekend, Abbott Haffar, leads the group with a 2-2 record and a 4.25 ERA. 

Series Openers
The Gauchos are 11-0 in series openers in 2019, scoring an average of 7.1 runs per game. UCSB will look to keep its opener streak alive this Friday on the road at UC Riverside with junior southpaw Ben Brecht on the mound. Brecht has started 10 of the 11 series openers and will start his 11th on Friday. Brecht leads the Big West and ranks 11th in the nation with seven wins to go along with a 3.21 ERA.