Gauchos Host Series with Long Beach State this Weekend

Alex Patterson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Alex Patterson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Friday, May 10 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, May 11 at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, May 12 at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UCSB Gauchos (37-7, 12-3) vs. Long Beach State Dirtbags (11-35, 5-10)
All-time record vs. the Dirtbags: 82-93
2018 Series: LBSU won 2-of-3

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. 

Probable Pitchers
LHP Ben Brecht (8-1, 4.00 ERA) vs. LHP Adam Seminaris (3-7, 3.53 ERA)
LHP Jack Dashwood (7-1, 2.27 ERA) vs. RHP Nick Avila (0-3, 4.30 ERA)
LHP Rodney Boone (6-0, 2.87 ERA) vs. LHP Zak Baayoun (3-7, 5.10 ERA)

Last Week in Review
The No. 7 UC Santa Barbara baseball team got back on track with a 4-0 week, sweeping past CSUN in a key conference series on the road before handling Saint Mary's for its sixth straight win on Tuesday. UCSB brought the bats in a 16-7 win over the Matadors on Friday, hitting a season-high six home runs while racking up 19 hits in the win. Saturday and Sunday's games were a bit closer, with the Gauchos edging out CSUN behind a strong Jack Dashwood performance, 4-2 on Saturday, and used a game-winning two-RBI single in the ninth inning from Armani Smith to top the Matadors on Sunday, 5-3. On Tuesday, UCSB improved to 22-1 at home after Smith's three-run home run propelled the Gauchos to a 6-3 win. 

Poll Position
After a 4-0 week, Santa Barbara saw a slight rise in many polls while remaining in the same slot in others. The Gauchos moved up one spot to No. 7 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll, its highest ranking across the board, and also moved up two spots from No. 10 to No. 8 in the Perfect Game Poll. UCSB also saw a two-spot rise to No. 16 in the D1baseball.com Poll while holding steady at No. 13 in the Baseball America, NCBWA and USA Today Coaches Poll. The highest ranking in UCSB history was No. 5 back in 1986, the last time the Gauchos won the Big West Conference Title. 

Smith Selected as Big West Player of the Week
Junior right fielder Armani Smith was named Big West Player of the Week for the first time in his career after hitting .438 (7-for-16) with four doubles, one home run, four RBIs and three runs as UCSB topped Cal State Bakersfield in a midweek game before sweeping the Matadors on the road over the weekend. Smith had two hits in all three games against CSUN, with four of his six hits going for extra bases in the series, and delivered the game-winning, two-RBI single in the ninth inning of Sunday's 5-3 win. Smith is currently riding a nine-game hitting streak, and with a triple on Tuesday, he is now one triple away from tying the UCSB single-season record. 

Watch Out for Yang
On Thursday afternoon, it was announced that 14 catchers were added to the Buster Posey Award Watch List with UC Santa Barbara junior catcher among them. There are currently 91 catchers in the running for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year Award with the semifinalists to be announced on May 17. Yang has enjoyed a breakout season for UCSB, currently leading the team with a .372 batting average to go along with six home runs and 38 RBIs. Yang has been excellent behind the dish as well, throwing out 39.1 percent (9-of-23) of would-be-base stealers while boasting a .994 fielding percentage. 

Long Beach State Preview
UCSB welcomes the Dirtbags to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a three-game series this weekend. Long Beach is coming off a near-upset at No. 1 UCLA on Tuesday, ultimately falling 2-1 in the 12th inning. Last season, Long Beach took two-of-three from the Gauchos and hold a 93-82 edge in the all-time series. The Dirtbags got off to a slow start in 2019 but recently swept a weekend series against UC Riverside and are now 5-10 in the Big West. They are led by Jacob Hughey (.320 AVG, 22 RBI) and Laine Huffman (.292 AVG, 11 RBI) at the plate, and hit .234 as a team. Friday starter and reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week Adam Seminaris leads the team with a 3-7 record and a 3.53 ERA.  

The Starters
The trio of weekend starting pitchers for the Gauchos are a combined 21-2 with a 3.07 ERA, while the team ERA of 3.44 is tops in the Big West and 17th overall in the nation. Friday starter Ben Brecht leads the conference with 85 strikeouts to go along with his 8-1 record with a 4.00 ERA. Saturday starter Jack Dashwood has been dominant as a sophomore, boasting an ERA of 2.27 to go with his 7-1 mark and ranking second to Brecht with 72 strikeouts. Not to be outdone, freshman Rodney Boone has solidifed himself as the Sunday starter with a 6-0 record and 2.87 ERA. 

What a Relief
The UCSB bullpen has been lights out for much of the season due in large part to freshman Michael McGreevy and junior Chris Lincoln. Mcgreevy has a team-high 23 appearances, and ranks third in the Big West with a 1.99 ERA. He has six saves to go along with 48 strikeouts in 49.2 innings. Lincoln, a starter last season, leads the conference and is fourth in the nation with 13 saves, and is just one away from tying the UCSB single-season record. 

Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 30-1 when hitting at least one home run in a game and just 7-6 when failing to hit one. The Gauchos have already surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34), with 54 thus far with 10 games still remaining. Tommy Jew and Armani Smith have been taking turns with the team lead all season, with Jew currenly in front with 11 while Smith has hit 10. Thomas Rowan is close behind with nine while Andrew Martinez and Eric Yang each have six. 11 different Gauchos have hit at least one.

Series Openers
With its series opening win on Friday at CSUN, UCSB is now 12-1 in series opener this season. Their only loss came at UC Riverside two weeks ago, but Friday starter Ben Brecht has been strong all season with an 8-1 record. Brecht and the Gauchos will look to build on their success as Brecht starts his 13th game on Friday.