Jan. 27, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
The 2005 UC Santa Barbara baseball team will take the field for the first time this Saturday, Jan. 29 against a team of Gaucho alumni at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Scheduled for a 1:00 p.m. start, it looks to be an exciting day of both past and present Gaucho baseball. The rest of the day's activities include the annual "Old Timers" game slated to begin at 10:00 a.m. and a Home Run Derby following its conclusion.
UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema and assistant Coach Tom Myers expect a large turnout of former Gauchos turned professionals. In attendance will be Southern League All-Star standout Skip Schumaker (2001), who led the Southern League in hits last season and received an invitation to Spring Training with the St. Louis Cardinals. Also joining the festivities will be pitcher Matt Vasquez (2003). Vasquez, a member of the Detroit Tigers organization, was a Midwest League All-Star and was voted to have the best command in the organization. Other professional players attending include Tyler VonSchell (2001) of the San Francisco Giants organization, Jeff Bannon (2001) and Jeremy Sugarman (2002) of the of the Cincinnati Reds organization and Chicago White Sox minor leaguer Jim Bullard (2001). Recent 2004 alums and current minor leaguers Nate Sutton of the Anaheim Angels and Ivan Ramirez of the Texas Rangers also plan on tormenting ex-teammates by helping the UCSB Alumni extend their current two-game winning streak.
In last year's Alumni game, the 2004 Gaucho squad came up just short against their predecessors in a tight 4-3 game. The 2004 Alumni team, comprised of 23 former Gauchos, had to make use of late inning heroics to slide by their student counterparts. The 2004 Alumni team featured many players from the 2001 NCAA Regional team as well as recent alums Chad Ziemendorf and Josh Fulton. The alumni team recorded four runs on seven hits, while the Gauchos put up three runs on eight hits.
The 2005 Gauchos, led by sensational sophomore shortstop Chris Valaika and powerful seniors Matt Wilkerson and Chris Malec, will jump start their new season on Friday, Feb. 4 at home against Pepperdine. UCSB then travels down to Malibu, Calif. the following day and returns home on Sunday, Feb. 6 to finish up its opening series with the Waves.