UCSB to Play in Three-Game Lamar Classic

March 2, 2007


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The Schedule
Games 9, 10 and 11
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Lamar Cardinals
Friday, March 2, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. at Lamar's Vincent-Beck Stadium
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. St. John's Red Storm Saturday, March 3, 2007 at 4:30 p.m. at Lamar's Vincent-Beck Stadium
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Kansas State Wildcats Sunday, March 4, 2007 at 9:00 a.m. at Lamar's Vincent-Beck Stadium

This Week
UCSB (3-5, 0-0) will hit the road and head to Beaumont, Texas to take part in the Lamar Classic hosted by the Lamar Cardinals. UCSB will play three games in the tournament, being pitted against the Cardinals on Friday at 4:30 p.m. The Gauchos will then take on St. John's at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday before finishing the three-day tournament against Kansas State on Sunday at 9 a.m.

A Look Back to Last Week
UCSB was swept by Cal in an unusual two-game non-conference series that was played on Sunday and Monday. The Gauchos' regular Friday starter, right-hander Steve Morlock, got the start in the 7-1 loss on Sunday. Morlock lasted four and a third innings and surrendered five runs on eleven hits and three walks while striking out one batter to be tagged with the loss. Fellow senior Jeff Braun took the hill for UCSB in Monday's game two, lasting three and two-thirds innings while surrendering three runs on three hits and four walks to be credited with the 6-1 loss. Freshman Mike Ford made his fourth appearance of the year, tossing three and a third innings in relief of Braun. Ford allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. With the five punch-outs, the Scottsdale, Ariz. native has now collected an impressive 14 strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched. The Gauchos collected eight hits on Monday, three of them coming off the bat of leadoff hitter Chris Fox. Fox, who entered Monday's game hitting .421, raised his average to an astounding .478 with a three-for-four performance. The left-handed hitting centerfielder tallied two doubles, a single and a run scored against the Golden Bears in the loss.

Fox on Fire
Junior Chris Fox has had no problem facing Division I baseball pitching after transferring from El Camino College this year. The native of Redondo Beach, Calif. has hit safely in every game that he has started this season (six games). In those games, Fox has tallied three multi-hit games, including two with three hits. His best game thus far came in last week's 6-1 loss to Cal on Monday. In that game, Fox batted three-for-four with two doubles, a walk and a run scored. In addition, the left-handed hitting centerfielder totes a team-leading .571 on base percentage and is the only Gaucho to steal a base on the year (2). With such on-base production out of the leadoff spot, it is just a matter of time before hot hitters like senior Robbie Blauer and junior Mike Zuanich start plating Fox.

A "Trace" of Brilliance
Senior Brian Tracy has emerged as a very reliable arm out of the Gaucho bullpen this season. In three appearances this season, Tracy has accumulated a 1.50 ERA in six innings pitched. The Presto, Pa. native has allowed a single run on seven hits and three walks while striking out an impressive five batters thus far this season. In two of his three outings, Tracy lasted two or more innings, including a season-long 2.2 innings in a 9-2 loss to Hawai'i on Feb. 18. Unfortunately for Tracy, he surrendered a run on three hits and two walks to earn the loss in that game. Tracy's 1.50 ERA ranks tops on the squad in that category.

Heart of the Lineup
Senior Robbie Blauer and junior Mike Zuanich have continued their torrid paces as of late, each tallying at least one hit in the last three games of play. Blauer, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., is currently batting .375 which ranks third on the team. In addition, Blauer is the only Gaucho to hit safely in all eight Gaucho games this season. In those games, Blauer has also tallied three multi-hit games, including one with three hits. Blauer's two doubles and three RBI leave him tied for second on the team in those categories. Zuanich has surged for five hits in his last three games, and in those games, he is hitting .556 (five-for-nine). There have been only two games in which the Torrance, Calif. native did not tally a hit. In addition, Zuanich has connected for four multi-hit games, including both games against Cal this past weekend. His .400 batting average place him second on the team in that category, behind former teammate at El Camino College, Chris Fox. The four RBI that he has driven in rank tied for first on the team.

Not Just a Closer?
Although senior right-hander Justin Segal is slated as the Gaucho closer, Segal is currently being used more in a long-reliever role than in a stopper role. In his four appearances out of the Gaucho bullpen, the Calabasas, Calif. native has tossed more than an inning on three occasions. In addition, Segal has thrown two or more innings on two of the four occasions. After saving seven games last season, the submariner has only appeared in one game with "save" implications. In that game, a 6-5 victory over San Jose State on Feb. 11, Segal blew a save after pitching two innings and surrendering a run on two hits and a walk. Since that game, Segal has thrown 5.2 innings, surrendering three runs on four hits and two walks while striking out five to run his ERA to 4.70.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Chris McMurray - Has hit safely in his last three games played.
1B - Robbie Blauer - Only Gaucho to safely hit in all eight games this season.
2B - Matt Valaika - His four RBI rank tied for first on the Gauchos.
3B - Patrick Rose - Has started seven of eight games at the hot corner.
SS - Shane Carlson - Has two hits in his last three games.
LF - Mike Zuanich - Is batting .556 (five-for-nine) in his last nine at bats.
CF - Chris Fox - Has tallied three multi-hit games in six games started.
RF - Mario Lewis - Has a hit in four of eight starts this season.
DH - Matt Anderson - Ranks third on the team in doubles.
DH - Cody Dee - Has three hits in four starts this season.

LHP - Jeff Braun - 0-2, 3.95 ERA
RHP - Steve Morlock - 1-2, 2.95 ERA
RHP - Mike Ford - 0-0, 4.91 ERA

Scouting the Cardinals
Lamar University is putting its seven-game winning streak on the line this weekend as the Cardinals host the Lamar Classic at Vincent-Beck Stadium beginning with Friday's 6:30 p.m. game against UC-Santa Barbara. Lamar, who won all three games in last weeks Cardinal Classic, posted a pair of wins over LeMoyne College this weeks, defeating the Dolphins 6-1 on Tuesday and 8-2 on Wednesday. The Cardinals are 8-3 on the season and have won seven straight, which is the team's longest winning streak since the 2004 squad had a nine-game winning streak. Junior Brian Sisk is expected to make his fourth start of the season for the Cardinals on Friday. The left-hander is 2-0 with a 0.00 earned run average. He has 17 strikeouts and two walks in 19.0 innings pitched and has not allowed an earned run this season. Junior Brian Lloyd leads the team with a .474 batting average with 11 runs scored, six doubles, a home run and 13 runs batted in. He leads the team with a .711 slugging percentage and a .543 on-base percentage. Junior Collin DeLome is hitting .468 with 17 runs scored, four doubles, two triples and eight RBI. Junior Erik Kanaby is hitting .422 with 18 runs scored, three doubles and seven RBI. He has hit safely in all 11 games this season and has a 16-game hitting streak dating back to last season, which ranks as the fifth-longest in school history. Junior Michael Ambort is hitting .409 with 14 runs scored, four doubles and leads the team with 15 RBI. Lamar is hitting .381 with 102 runs scored (9.27 per game), 144 hits (13.09), 32 doubles (2.91), three triples and five home runs. The Cardinals have walks 25 times and struck out 26 times. Lamar has double-digit hit totals in eight of 11 games. The pitching staff has a 3.60 team ERA with 82 strikeouts and 28 walks in 90.0 innings pitched, and is limiting opponents to a .242 batting average.

Series Record
This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Scouting the Red Storm
The St. John's baseball team embarks on a seven-game, 10-day Spring Break trip this weekend at the Lamar Classic in Beaumont, Texas. The Red Storm takes on Kansas State on Friday, Cal-Santa Barbara on Saturday and Lamar on Sunday. The team then moves on to Houston for a game versus No. 6 Rice and Lake Charles, La., for three games against McNeese State. St. John's is expected to pitch junior LHP Matt Tosoni (0-1, 1.86 ERA) on Friday against the Wildcats, sophomore LHP Scott Barnes (0-1, 4.91 ERA) on Saturday vs. UCSB and sophomore RHP Jared Yecker (0-2, 1.86 ERA) against the host Cardinals on Sunday. The trio pitched in that order last weekend and helped the Red Storm pitching staff post a 3.24 ERA in three games at the ECU Invitational. In Greenville, the group of St. John's pitchers led the way as the Red Storm was within striking distance late in losses to East Carolina, then-unbeaten Duke and Washington. Tosoni worked into the eighth inning in the Friday opener vs. ECU, but picked up a loss as Pirates starter T.J. Hose kept the Red Storm's bats quiet. Barnes struck out six and allowed three runs in six innings versus the Blue Devils, and Yecker allowed five hits and four unearned runs in a 6-3 loss to UW. Senior second baseman Sam DeLuca continued his hot start at the plate at the ECU Invitational, leading the Red Storm with five hits, a .500 batting average and four RBI over the three-game span. In the weekend finale versus Washington, the senior went 3-for-3 at the plate and knocked in all three of the team's runs. Freshman Brian Kemp had two hits, stole a base and scored runs on a single and sacrifice fly by DeLuca. Catcher Brendan Monaghan extended his career-best hitting streak to 16 games with singles versus East Carolina and Duke, but saw it snapped against Washington when he flied out as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning. Defensively, Monaghan also threw out two base runners and drew praise from ECU coaches for his ability to catch and throw.

Series Record
This is the first meeting between the two teams.

Scouting the Wildcats
Kansas State hits the road for the third consecutive week as the Wildcats head to the Lone Star State this weekend for the Lamar Classic in Beaumont, Texas. The Wildcats are coming off an impressive 4-0 weekend in Tampa, Fla., which saw the Cats down Seton Hall, Ohio State twice and James Madison to move to 7-1 on the young season. K-State continues to get strong pitching performances from top to bottom and has gotten clutch offensive production late in games during the first eight games of the season. On the mound, K-State has seen its starting pitcher go six-plus innings in seven of eight starts and the bullpen has generated a 0.79 ERA in 22-plus innings this season, including a 10.1 scoreless streak last weekend in Tampa. Leading hitters for the Wildcats are senior Eddie Vasquez (.462, 0 HR, 2 RBI), junior Brett Scott (.400, 0 HR, 3 RBI) and sophomore Byron Wiley (.370, 2 HR, 7 RBI). The starting rotation is slated to be junior RHP Brad Hutt (2-0, 1.32 ERA) on Friday, junior LHP Chase Bayuk (1-0, 2.25 ERA) on Saturday and sophomore RHP Justin Murray (1-1, 4.26 ERA) or sophomore LHP Ben Hornbeck (0-0, 8.10 ERA) on Sunday.

Series Record
This is the first meeting between the two teams.

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 351-353 (.499). 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 Lamar Classic, UCSB will return home to host No. 13 (Rivals.com) Pepperdine on Tuesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. The Gauchos will then host Big West foe Cal State Northridge in a three-game non-conference series starting on Friday, March 9 at 2 p.m. Saturday's game two will be played at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game three is slated for a one o'clock first pitch.