UCSB Visits San Jose State to Start 2007 Campaign

Feb. 7, 2007


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The Schedule
Games 1-3
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. San Jose State Spartans
Friday, Feb. 9, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at San Jose State's Municipal Stadium
Saturday, Feb. 10, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at San Jose State's Municipal Stadium
Sunday, Feb. 11, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at San Jose State's Municipal Stadium

Media Coverage
All three games will be accompanied by live game stats through the San Jose State Athletics Website at: http://www.sjsuspartans.com/liveStats/liveStats.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=5600&KEY=
Friday and Sunday's radio broadcasts will be available online through San Jose State's campus radio station, KSJS (90.5 FM) at: http://www.ksjs.org Sports Director Rob Soul will be on the call for both games.

This Week
UCSB (0-0, 0-0) will open the 2007 season on the road against San Jose State (2-2) this weekend. Game one is scheduled to start at 2 p.m., game two is slated for 1 p.m. and Sunday's series finale is scheduled to be played at 1 p.m.

Morlock and Martin Return
After missing the entire 2006 campaign due to preseason injuries, right-handers Steve Morlock and Michael Martin will be back on the hill in 2007 for the Gauchos. Morlock, who was slated to be the Friday starter for UCSB last season, should pick up right where he left off--as the ace on the squad with the ball at the start of a weekend series. Martin, who was also slated to be one of three weekend starters last season, should also battle for starts in 2007.

Pitching Staff
Led by the return of Morlock, UCSB has a very strong pitching staff returning to the Gaucho clubhouse. UCSB will return seven senior pitchers in 2007, including left-hander Jeff Braun and right-hand pitchers Brian Tracy and Bryan Fleming, who combined to start 35 of the Gauchos' 54 games last season. Perhaps the most important senior hurler comes out of the bullpen with the return of submarine reliever Justin Segal. Segal finished last year with a team-best 2.29 ERA and 7 saves, and led the Big West with 36 appearances--which is also a Gaucho record.

There are a total of thirteen players that were not on the 2006 roster who will suit up in 2007. Seven of those thirteen players are freshmen, while the remaining six transferred from other schools. Of those thirteen, four are infielders, four are left-handed pitchers, two are right-handers, two are outfielders and one is a catcher.

Stopper of the Year
After a record-setting season as the Gauchos' closer in 2006, senior Justin Segal has been named to the preseason watch list for the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association's Stopper of the Year Award. The Calabasas, Calif. native is one of 35 closers vying for the award, which is given to the top relief pitcher in Division I college baseball. Of the 35 pitchers who make up the initial 2007 watch list, 24 were among the nation's Top 50 in saves at the end of the 2006 season, including eight of the Top 12 save totals in the final NCAA rankings.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Chris McMurray - 2006 All-Big West Honorable Mention
1B - Robbie Blauer - 2006 All-Big West Second Team
2B - Matt Valaika - Freshman from Valencia, Calif. (Hart HS)
3B - Patrick Rose - Junior from Laguna Niguel (Univ. of New Orleans)
SS - Shane Carlson - Sophomore from Stevenson Ranch, Calif. (Hart HS)
LF - Mike Zuanich - Junior from Torrance, Calif. (El Camino College)
CF - Brian Gump - Sophomore from Westminster, Calif. (Westminster HS)
RF - Mario Lewis - Senior from Santa Ynez, Calif. (Butte College)
DH - Chris Fox - Junior from Redondo Beach, Calif. (El Camino College)

RHP - Steve Morlock - 0-0, 0.00 ERA
LHP - Jeff Braun - 0-0, 0.00 ERA
RHP - Mike Ford - 0-0, 0.00 ERA

Scouting the Spartans
San Jose State (2-2) is coming off a week in which it dropped a series to Saint Mary's college, 2-1. The Spartans fell in game one 6-7 before evening the series at a game apiece with a 6-5 victory on Saturday. In Sunday's rubber match, Saint Mary's once again downed San Jose, this time by a count of 7-5. The Spartans followed-up the series loss with a 6-1 victory over San Francisco at College of San Mateo on Tuesday. San Jose State pitching combined for a three-hitter in that game earlier this week. Early-season leading hitters for the Spartans are senior Donato Giovanatto (.538, 0 HR, 2 RBI), sophomore Brian Chase (.500, 0 HR, 1 RBI) and sophomore John Shaffer (.444, 0 HR, 1 RBI).

Series Record
San Jose State leads the all-time series between the two teams 43-35.

The Brontsema File
2007 marks the 26th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 14th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 348-348 (.500). 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 .702 winning percentage in 2001 ranks third highest 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 his coaching career include April 27, 1997, marking his 100th career win with a 16-4 victory over the University of Pacific and April 7, 2001, that saw him earn career win number 200 with a 7-2 victory over UC Riverside. The 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Feb. 13, 2005 marked yet another milestone for Brontsema, career win number 300. Victory number 344, which pushed him past Dave Gorrie and into the No. 2 spot in career wins, came May 12, 2006 in an 8-6 win over Long Beach State.

What's Up Next?
After the three-game series with San Jose State, UCSB will return home to host Hawai'i in a three-game set to open play at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Last season the Gauchos were 15-11 playing in those friendly confines at UCSB.