Baseball Plays In Battle At The Beach Tournament This Weekend

Feb. 7, 2003

Santa Barbara, Calif. - Battle at the Beach Tournament, Malibu, Calif.
Friday, February 7, 2003 at 10:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Houston Cougars at Malibu, Calif.
Saturday, February 8, 2003 at 10:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Washington Huskies at Malibu, Calif. Sunday, February 9, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Pepperdine Waves at Malibu, Calif.

Battle at the Beach:
The Gauchos head down to Malibu this weekend to compete in the First Annual Battle at the Beach Tournament following Tuesday's contest with USC. The Gauchos play national powerhouse Houston on Friday followed by a matchup against Pac-10 power Washington on Saturday. UCSB concludes the tournament on Sunday when they battle host Pepperdine.

UCSB catcher Chad Ziemendorf known more for his defensive ability, started off the season with a hot bat. He went four-for-eight (.500) clubbing two doubles and recording six total bases in last weekends three-game-series with San Diego State. Ziemendorf consistently reached base in all four of his plate appearances on Sunday, including a double, single, walk, and hit-by-pitch. The junior also made his defensive presence felt gunning down a potential base stealer in Saturday's contest.

On the Virge:
Right hander Matt (Virgil) Vasquez pitched six strong innings against San Diego State last Friday earning his first win of the season. Vasquez looked dominant having command of all of his pitches. He held the Aztec's to a single run and finished the game with five strikeouts. "It was more important to get the first win for the team, rather than for myself," commented Vasquez on the victory. Vasquez will be asked to be the horse and leader for the Gaucho staff, however, being a leader and the ace for UCSB's baseball team is nothing new for the junior. In his freshman campaign the Santa Barbara native went 5-4 with a 3.95 ERA earning Freshman-All-American honors. He continued his success in 2002 leading the team in innings pitched (99.1), games started (16), and strikeouts (69) despite a record of 5-10. The UC Santa Barbara coaching staff believes that the Gaucho ace will set the tone for the rest of the season. "Vasquez set the tone in the fall, he set the tone in the winter, and now he's setting the tone for the spring," commented pitching coach Dan Ricabal.

Burlingame Bomber:
Taylor Vogt a native of Burlingame, CA showed his power by blasting a game winning home run in the fourth inning on Friday. The home run came off Aztec starting pitcher Mike Moat giving the Gauchos a 2-1 lead, a lead that they would keep the rest of the game. Besides the home run, Vogt hit the ball solidly against the Aztecs all weekend. Vogt went three-for-nine in the three-game-series against Tony Gwynn's squad.

Jacks Anyone:
Freshman Matt Emerick and junior Greg Powers both hit their first collegiate home runs this weekend against San Diego State. The similarity of these two solo shots besides being each of the players first in a Gaucho uniform was that they both were to lead off the inning. Emerick hit his home run off relief pitcher Mike Hurang in the seventh inning of Sunday's game . In game two , Powers pinch hit to lead off the eight inning and drilled the first pitch he saw over the right field fence.

Johnny All-Staff:
UCSB used ten of their eleven active pitchers this weekend versus San Diego State. The Gaucho staff looked impressive throughout the three-game-series despite losing two out of the three games. Game one starter Matt Vasquez and game three starter Eric Posthumus each looked strong going six innings each and dominating the outside corner of the plate all game long. Junior transfer Ivan Ramirez and senior closer Jared Edrosolan combined to allow only one hit as UC Santa Barbara's bullpen held the Aztecs scoreless in the last three innings in Friday's contest. Freshman pitcher Michael Martin showed his poise early on going two innings and recording three strikeouts over the weekend.

Havens 14-Game Hitting Streak Snapped:
Before last weekends series with San Diego State, senior left fielder Blair Havens had an impressive 14-game hitting streak dating back from last season. Havens started his streak against Cal State Fullerton on April 21, 2002. He was an impressive 22-for-60 and hit at a .367 clip during the streak, which lasted a school-record nine-and-a-half and months. Havens' streak was snapped after going hitless in Friday's game against the Aztecs. The Gaucho leadoff hitter was held hitless last weekend. However, Havens got off to a slow start in 2002 as well, before going on a terror later in the season.

Scouting the Cougars:
The University of Houston Cougars return the deep pitching staff that ranked fifth nationally in ERA last season. Their 3.20 ERA as a team should be credited most to junior pitcher Brad Sullivan. A First-Team All-American selection and 2002 C-USA Pitcher of the Year led the Cougars with a 13-1 record and a microscopic 1.82 ERA. Houston also returns southpaw Danny Zell who compiled an 8-2 record and 2.86 ERA. Offesively, the Cougars are led by outfielder Michael Bourn and infielder Brett Cooley. Bourn started all 65 games for Houston, batting .327 and leading the team in runs (68) and stolen bases (32). Cooley, a First-Team All-C-USA selection batted .339 and clubbed 18 home runs and 56 RBI for Houston. Houston is guided by head coach Rayner Noble. Noble starts his ninth season as the Cougar's general coming in with a career mark of 294-194.

Scouting the Huskies:
The Huskies enter the season after sporting a 33-27-1 record in the Pac-10 in 2002, ranking them third. UW returns their top pitcher in senior Sean White. White finished 2002 with a record of 7-2 and was second on the team in both strikeouts (56), and innings (94.2). Junior pitcher Clay Johnson (3-2) also returns to the Huskie staff. Sophomore Kyle Larson will lead Washington's offense in 2003. Larson, a Freshman All-American selection was second on the team with a .342 batting average and also chipped in with five home runs and 37 RBI. Washington also returns their top-hitter as well as top-defensive player from a year ago in senior Tila Reynolds. Reynolds batted .347 and drove in 34 RBI.

Scouting the Waves:
The host Pepperdine Waves are led by 6th year head coach Frank Sanchez. He returns 17 letter winners from 2002 and adds a crop of 13 newcomers. Pepperdine will be led by the bats of senior designated hitter/first baseman Ty Harper, junior outfielder Cory Brightwell, and bomber Chris Kelley. Harper led the waves with a .336 clip and added 40 RBI. Brightwell batted .326, launched 11 home runs and notched 40 RBI. Kelley moved closer to the school record in home runs sending 18 over the fence and tallying 50 RBI for the Waves. The pitching staff will return senior Greg Ramirez (5-4, 5.91 ERA) and junior Brandon Boesch (6-5, 5.10 ERA). The two right handers hope to lead the Waves to another WCC title in 2003.