Baseball Battles Sacramento State In Three-Game Home Series

Feb. 27, 2003

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team battles the Hornets of Sacramento State in a three-game series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this weekend. The series opens Friday at 2:00 p.m.. Saturday and Sunday's games start at 1:00 p.m.

Who's Hot?
UCSB catcher Chad Ziemendorf continued to swing a hot bat for the Gauchos last weekend against Santa Clara. The junior helped UCSB in the mid-week contest with UCLA driving in the go ahead run. The Los Altos native had his best game of 2003 going 3-for-4 with 4 RBI on Saturday. Over the weekend, Ziemendorf improved his team leading average to .386. He now leads the team in hits (17), RBI (11), total bases (25), and slugging percentage (.568).

Current Streak
Third baseman Nate Sutton enters this weekend's Sacramento State series with a six game hitting streak. Over the streak Sutton has improved his average to a steady .280. This season the junior has smashed to home runs and tallied 14 RBI. The most recent hitting streak by a Gaucho was Blair Havens' 14 game hitting streak that ended against San Diego State at the start of the 2003 season.

Stay With What Works
Last week against Santa Clara, UCSB shuffled their starting rotation, moving lefty Sean Thompson (1-2) to Friday, sophomore Eric Posthumus (0-2) to Saturday, and junior Matt Vasquez (1-1) to Sunday. The Gauchos keep the same rotation this week, entering the three-game series with Sacramento State. Thompson comes off his first win of the season against a talented Santa Clara team. Thompson allowed only one run in six innings. The southpaw makes his fifth start of the season on Friday. Saturday, the Gauchos throw the right-handed Posthumus. Posthumus was roughed up by Santa Clara, but still leads the team in strikeouts with 17. Sunday, UC Santa Barbara will throw Vasquez. Vasquez looked strong last Sunday allowing two earned runs in six innings.

The Bullpen
The Gaucho starters have received a lot of help from their bullpen. In fact, the UCSB bullpen is lights out when coming into the game with a lead. Lefty Ivan Ramirez (1-0), Michael Martin (1-0), and Steve Morlock (2-2) are the core of the UCSB bullpen. The crafty Ramirez (1-0) has been solid all season and holds a 1.38 ERA in nine appearances this season. Martin, the Gauchos mid-week starter could see time out of the pen this weekend. The freshman sports a 3.24 ERA and has struck out eight batters in as many innings. Morlock, also a freshman is solidifying his role as the Gauchos closer. Morlock is coming off the best week of his young collegiate career. He provided solid relief against UCLA, picking up his first save of the season on Tuesday. In the rubber game against Santa Clara, Morlock pitched three scoreless innings, earning his first win of the season.

Scouting the Hornets
Head coach John Smith leads Sacramento State in his 26th season as the Hornets' general. Smith guided the Hornets to three straight wins to open the 2003 season, however, SSU has dropped six of their last ten contests. Sacramento State enters this weekend's series with an overall record of 7-6 and a road record of 0-5. A pair of outfielders lead the Hornet's offense in Mikela Olsen and Jesse Schmidt. Olsen, the most productive thus far in 2003, leads the team in batting average (.405), hits (17), doubles (5), RBI (13), total bases (30), and slugging percentage (.714). Schmidt carries a consistent .327 average, and tallied 11 RBI to go along with his team best three home runs. The Hornets carry a .288 team batting average and have outscored their opponents in their first 13 games, 82-54.

The Hornet Staff
Four righty's lead a talented pitching staff, carrying a 3.84 team ERA. The starting rotation includes Steve Cuckovich, Marshall Plouffe, and Chris Kinsey. Cuckovich, the ace of the staff has a record of 2-0, 2.61 ERA, and 23 strikeouts in four starts this season. Plouffe accumulated a 3.00 ERA and 1-1 record in his first three starts. Kinsey holds a 1-2 record, 2.45 ERA, and tallied 23 strikeouts in 25.2 innings pitched. Even more impressive, the versatile Kinsey plays infield for SSU when he's not on the hill. At the plate Kinsey has two home runs to go along with 10 RBI. Look for Renecke Stelzriede to come out of the bullpen for the Hornets. Stelzriede, the top reliever for SSU has recorded two saves and five strikeouts in only 4.2 innings of work.

Last Season
In 2002, the Gauchos took the three-game series from the Hornets, two games to one.