UCSB Hosts Westmont Tuesday to Open 2006 Season, Welcomes San Jose State for Three Starting Friday

Feb. 6, 2006


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The Schedule
Games 1-4
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Westmont Warriors
Tuesday, February 7, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. San Jose State Spartans
Friday, February 10, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, February 11, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, February 12, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

This Week
UC Santa Barbara opens its 2006 season with a game against Westmont on Tuesday at 2 p.m. The Gauchos will then host a three-game series against San Jose State starting Friday at 2 p.m.

A Look Back at 2005
UC Santa Barbara finished the 2005 season with an overall record of 26-30, 8-13 in the Big West. Head Coach Bob Brontsema earned career win number 300 when the Gauchos downed San Jose State 6-1 on February 13. In 2005, seniors Chris Malec and Matt Wilkerson were named Second Team All-Big West. Fellow senior Alex McRobbie earned Honorable Mention All-Big West honors. Wilkerson broke the career home run record by blasting thirteen in 2005 to give him a total of 42. McRobbie tallied 14 saves in 2005 to capture the top spot on both the single season and the Gaucho career saves list with 18. The Gauchos had four players drafted in 2005. Chris Malec (New York Yankees), Alex McRobbie (Toronto Blue Jays), Loren Fraser (Detroit Tigers) and Matt Wilkerson (St. Louis Cardinals) were all signed to Major League contracts.

Valaika Makes His Return
After missing the majority of last season due to injury, 2004 Freshman All-American shortstop Chris Valaika will return to action at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Valaika, who has a career aspiration of playing professional baseball, has done a great job on the field to make his presence felt. In the summer of 2004, Valaika enjoyed success as member of the USA National team and this season he was named to the Wallace Watch list by the College Baseball Foundation.

Pitching Staff
In 2006, two of the Gauchos' three weekend starters from last year will be back on the bump. After an excellent 2005 season, senior Steve Morlock is expected to do much of the same in 2006. Morlock started a team high 17 games for the Gauchos and posted an even record of 7-7 in 97.1 IP. His .500 win-loss percentage and seven victories were tops amongst Gaucho starters. The Kentfield, Calif. native turned in five or more innings pitched in 14 of his 17 starts on the season. Junior Andy Graham dealt 78.2 innings in his fifteen starts last season. His 50 strikeouts in 2005 ranked him second on the Gaucho staff. The right-hander lasted five or more innings on nine occasions. Justin Segal also returns from the 2005 Gaucho bullpen. Segal logged 27 games in relief and posted a 4.66 ERA in 46.1 IP.

The Brontsema File
2006 marks the 25th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 13th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema enters the 2006 season with a record of 322-320. He has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1996 when he guided the Gauchos to a 32-20 record and an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament, and in 2001, when he led the team to a 40-17 mark and another NCAA Tournament berth. The .701 winning percentage in 2001 was the best in school history. In 2004, Brontsema's Gauchos posted the second most overall wins in his career as head coach, going 33-21. Milestone dates in Brontsema's coaching career include win no. 100 in 1997, win no. 200 in 2001 and career win number 600 with the 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13th, 2005.

Probable Gaucho Starters
Against LHP
C - Matt McColgan -Senior transfer from Santa Clara University.
1B - Robbie Blauer -Junior transfer from Orange Coast College.
2B - Alden Carrithers -.285, .413 OB%, nine doubles, 30 runs, 6 SB.
3B - Shane Carlson -Freshman from Hart High School.
SS - Chris Valaika -In 72 AB, racked up five doubles and 12 runs scored.
LF - Dave Harrit -22 games as a sub was the most by any Gaucho in 2005.
CF - Matt Emerick -Played in 54 of the Gauchos' 56 games, .238 AVG., 5 SB.
RF - Mario Lewis -Junior transfer from Butte College.
DH - Matt Anderson -Junior transfer from Cosumnes River College.
Against RHP
C - Matt McColgan
1B - Robbie Blauer
2B - Alden Carrithers
3B - Shane Carlson
SS - Chris Valaika
LF - Brian Lee -Played in nine games, batted .167 in only 12 at bats.
CF - Matt Emerick
RF - Mario Lewis
DH - Matt Clark -Freshman from Etiwanda High School.

On the Mound This Week
Tuesday - Bryan Fleming -Junior transfer from Santa Clara University.
Friday - Andy Graham -15 starts in 2005, 4-7, 5.95 ERA, 78.2 IP.
Saturday - Steve Morlock -17 starts in 2005, 7-7, 5.83 ERA, 97.1 IP.
Sunday - Brian Tracy -16 appearances in 2005, 2-3, 7.22 ERA, 33.2 IP.

Scouting San Jose State
The Spartans enter the weekend toting a 1-2 overall record after dropping the final two games of a three-game series with Cal Poly last weekend. San Jose State won its season opener by defeating the Mustangs 6-0. Spartan starter Branden Dewing threw a complete game and surrendered just four hits in the win. The following day, the Spartans dropped a nail-biter 3-2 before falling by a score of 9-6 on Sunday. After one series, Donato Giovanatto leads the Spartan offense with a .400 average (2-5).

Series Record Against Westmont
UCSB leads the all-time series with Westmont 81-22. UCSB defeated the Warriors in both meetings last season.

Series Record Against the Spartans
San Jose State leads the all-time series between the two schools 41-34. UCSB took two of three from the Spartans last season.

On the Horizon
After the weekend series with San Jose State, UCSB will host a pair of mid-week non-conference games. The Gauchos will take on USC on Tuesday, February 14 at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka and host the University of British Columbia on Thursday, February 16 at 2:00 p.m.