January 28, 2002

Baseball Opens 2002 At Home Against Loyola Marymount

Jan. 28, 2002

Release #1

Who Are These Guys?

The 2002 Gauchos seem like the Cleveland Indians in Major League, nobody knows who they are. Coach Bob Brontsema will welcome new starters at seven positions, with outfielder Ryan Spilborghs (Jr.) as the only holdover from last years squad. However, the Gaucho pitching staff returns two All-Americans in James Garcia (Sr.) and Matt Vasquez (So.) to lead a very solid nucleus of arms.

Arms Build Up

Despite losing two starters and their closer to the 2001 MLB Draft, the Gaucho pitching staff looks just as promising if not better in 2002. James Garcia, a third-team All-American selection will anchor the Gaucho pitching staff. The righty from Torrance, Calif.,became the first Gaucho pitcher since 1992 to win 10 games in a season. Garcia also struck out 112 batters in 122 innings pitched in 2001. Matt Vasquez (So.), a freshman All-American, will also be called upon in starting duties. Jeremy Sugarman (Sr.) and Matt Moran (Sr.) will also be expected to be big contributors this season. Newcomers James Dayley (Utah Valley State), Sean Thompson (El Camino JC) and Eric Posthumus (Hart HS) will also see significant innings.

Who's On First, Second, Third And...?

Aside from Spilborghs, who leds the Gaucho returners in every offensive category and is coming off a memorable sophomore season, which saw him hit in a school record 35 games in a row, UCSB will have a completely new look on the field. To start the season R.J. Smith (Sr.) will get the starting nod in center, freshman C.J. Cook (Mater Dei HS) in left and Spilborghs in right to round out the outfield. The infield will be breaking in a new starter at every position, with junior Josh McCanne (Orange Coast) at first, freshman Chris Malec (Santa Margarita HS) at second, junior Josh Fulton (U. ofWashington) at short, Nate Sutton (So.) at third and junior Nic Rodriguez (Cochise N.M.) at catcher.

The Man With The Plan

Bob Brontsema returns for his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 216-208 (.509). Brontsema is coming off his best coaching season at UCSB guiding the Gauchos to a 40-17 record, good for the best single season winning percentage (.702) at UCSB since 1986. The 40 wins were the most by a UCSB team since 1990. For his efforts, Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Brontsema has posted three straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.

Game Recognize Game

UCSB will open its 2001 season hosting a three-game series beginning Thursday, Janary 31 against Loyola Marymount. The non-conference schedule is highlighted by games against BYU, UCLA, USC, Pepperdine, and two tournaments, the UNLV tourney and six games at the Johnny Quik Classic, hosted by Fresno State in mid March. Eight three-game series will make up the conference schedule in the nine-team Big West. UCSB will travel to UC Irvine, Long Beach State, Pacific, Cal Poly and host Cal State Northridge, Cal State Fullerton, UC Riverside and Sacramento State.

The Bottom Line: Hitting and Pitching Leaders (2001)

Spillborghs .375, Campanella .294, Havens .214,, Garcia 3.10,Vasquez 3.95, Sugarman 4.75 More 5.40, Moran 5.64.