February 15, 2007

UCSB Hosts Hawai'i in First Home Series of 2007

Feb. 15, 2007

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

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The Schedule
Games 3-5
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Hawai'i Rainbows
Friday, Feb. 16, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, Feb. 17, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, Feb. 18, 2007 at 12:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Gauchos on the Radio
Friday's game between UC Santa Barbara and Hawai'i will be broadcast live on UCSB's campus radio station, KCSB 91.9 FM. KCSB will be bringing you every pitch of the game that features senior RHP Steve Morlock pitted against senior LHP Ian Harrington. In addition, all UCSB home games will be broadcast live via Gametracker. Just check the schedule on the baseball homepage at www.ucsbgauchos.com.

This Week
UCSB (1-1, 0-0) will open the 2007 home schedule against Hawai'i (7-2) 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 12 p.m.

Seniors Step Up
Gaucho seniors Matt Anderson, Mario Lewis and Robbie Blauer welcomed their senior seasons with an outstanding opening series against San Jose State. After the two-game series, which was scheduled to be a three-game set but was shortened due to rain, Anderson, Lewis and Blauer ranked first, third and fourth, respectively, in terms of batting average on the squad. Anderson started only the second game of the series, but in that game, he batted two-for-three with a double and an RBI. Lewis had the best overall performance of the three, batting three-for-nine on the series in two starts. In addition to the .333 average, the Santa Ynez, Calif. native tallied a double, a homerun, a run scored and two RBI. Blauer, a Second Team All-Big West selection a year ago, batted two-for-seven with a run scored and three walks (two intentional) on the series.

The Second Coming?
Although they are completely different players, it is hard not to see the resemblance between former Gaucho standout Chris Valaika and his freshman Gaucho brother, Matt Valaika. The uncanny resemblance between the brothers' batting stances in the box is one thing, but the power production of both seems to be at least a second similarity that the two players share. In the two-game series against the Spartans, Matt batted two-for-eight with a run scored, a walk, an RBI and a homerun. Chris led the team last season with ten homers, and it looks like his younger counterpart has a little pop in his bat as well. Valaika's homerun is one of two for the Gauchos, the other coming off the bat of senior Mario Lewis.

Left Turns Lead to Crooked Numbers...
Entering the series against Hawai'i, UCSB is batting .247 (18-for-73) as a team. Of the 18 hits in the two-game series against San Jose State, seven (.389) went for extra bases. With the seven extra-base hits, UCSB is slugging an impressive .397, which is fifty-nine points higher than opponents this season. After not putting up a run in the first game of the series on Saturday, UCSB exploded for six runs in game two on Sunday. In that game, the Gauchos posted four doubles and two homeruns compared to a single double the day before.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Chris McMurray - Finished one-for-two with an RBI in Sunday's game.
1B - Robbie Blauer - Had a hit in each of the weekend games against San Jose State.
2B - Matt Valaika - Connected for his first collegiate homerun last Sunday.
3B - Patrick Rose - Batted two-for-six with a double and two runs scored on Sunday.
SS - Shane Carlson - Was error-free at shortstop in ten attempts over the weekend.
LF - Mike Zuanich - Has three hits in his first two games as a Gaucho, batting .375.
CF - Brian Gump - Picked up a double in UCSB's 6-5 extra-inning victory on Sunday.
RF - Mario Lewis - Blasted his first homer of the season against SJSU on Sunday.
DH - Chris Fox - Had a hit in each of his first two games as a Gaucho. DH - Matt Anderson - Leads all Gauchos with a .667 batting average.

RHP - Steve Morlock - 0-1, 0.00 ERA
LHP - Jeff Braun - 0-0, 5.40 ERA
RHP - Mike Ford - 0-0, 0.00 ERA

Scouting the Rainbows
The University of Hawai`i Rainbow baseball team swept through the Pacific Tigers to raise their record to 7-2, as they are currently riding a five-game winning streak. The Rainbows had big contributions from many players in the sweep of Pacific. Ian Harrington had a career-high nine strikeouts to get the series-opening victory, earning the senior WAC Pitcher of the Week honors. Kris Sanchez continued his hot hitting, blasting a home run in each game of the series. The streak is believed to be the first ever three-game home run streak for a Rainbow at the Les Murakami Stadium. Leading hitters for the Rainbows are senior Sanchez (.543, 3 HR, 19 RBI), sophomore Landon Hernandez (.412, 0 HR, 6 RBI) and senior Justin Frash (.393, 0 HR, 4 RBI). Hawai'i's weekend rotation is slated to be senior left-hander Ian Harrington (2-1, 4.20), senior lefty Mark Rodrigues (3-0, 1.72) and junior right-hander Josh Schneider (0-0, 0.00).

Series Record
Hawai'i leads the all-time series between the two teams 9-3.

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 349-349 (.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 Hawaii, UCSB will remain at home to host cross-town rival Westmont on Tuesday at 2 p.m. Following the showdown on Tuesday, UCSB will host Cal for a unusual two-game series starting on Sunday at 1 p.m. Monday's game two is also scheduled for a 1 p.m. first pitch.

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