March 3, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. LMU Lions
Friday, March 3, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at 2:30 p.m. at LMU's Page Stadium
Saturday, March 4, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at LMU's Page Stadium
Sunday, March 5, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at LMU's Page Stadium
UC Santa Barbara (3-6) will hit the road in search of its first road victory when it takes on LMU in Los Angeles, Calif. The Gauchos and Lions will jumpstart a three-game series starting on Friday at 2 p.m.
A Look Back at Last Week
UCSB is coming off a weekend in which it was swept by Cal in Berkeley, Calif. The Gauchos managed to score two runs in the three games played, with Sunday's game halted after the fifth due to the weather. UCSB was defeated 3-0 on Friday after excellent pitching limited the Gauchos to three hits, the lowest hit total of the season thus far. After taking an early lead, UCSB fell to Cal once again on Saturday, this time by a count of 4-2. The Gauchos tallied nine hits in the game, but were unable to earn the victory. Cal completed the three-game sweep of UCSB with a 2-0 victory on Sunday. UCSB was once again limited to three hits in the game.
UCSB Bats Still No. 1 in Big West
Despite having a not-so typical weekend at the plate against Cal, UCSB still ranks No. 1 in team batting average, tied with Cal State Fullerton at .307. Freshman third baseman/designated hitter Matt Clark ranks sixth in the Big West with a .421 batting average. Fellow Gauchos Shane Carlson and Robbie Blauer rank eleventh and twelfth with .364 and .357 batting averages, respectively. Junior standout Chris Valaika also ranks amongst the top in the Big West with a No. 14 ranked .353 average.
The Cucamonga Kid
Freshman Matt Clark has brought his bat from Etiwanda High School into his first season at the collegiate level. Clark, who enjoys reading Tony Gwynn's The Art of Hitting, is batting .421 through the first nine games of the season. The 6' 5" first year player started the year as the Gauchos' left-handed designated hitter, but last weekend he started all three games against Cal at third base. Before failing to tally a hit in Sunday's game against Cal, Clark had a five-game hit streak. In the seven games that Clark has at least two at-bats, he has at least one hit in six of the games.
After senior starter Michael Martin was declared unable to pitch this season for the Gauchos, UCSB knew it would have to find a pitcher to fill in in his absence as the third starter. The Gauchos were hit with another blow a few weeks later when fellow senior Steve Morlock was forced to miss his first start due to injury. Morlock has yet to make a start this season, so another pitcher was needed to fill the void. Fortunately for the Gauchos, juniors Brian Tracy and Bryan Fleming have answered the call and stepped up quite nicely. Tracy is 1-1 on the season with a 2.38 ERA in 11.1 IP. The Claremont, Calif. native earned his victory after tossing five innings of two-hit ball against San Jose State on February 11, a game that the Gauchos defeated the Spartans 8-5. Fleming holds the best ERA of all pitcher that have dealt at least five innings, 1.29. The Marin County, Calif. native has a 1-2 record with 14 innings pitched. Fleming has only walked one batter in his fourteen innings of work, while managing to strike out six. His victory came against Westmont College on February 7 in a game in which UCSB defeated Westmont 16-1.
Bring in the Righty
Junior right-hander Justin Segal has appeared in a team-high six games this season out of the bullpen. The Calabasas, Calif. native is sporting a 2.79 ERA in 9.2 IP. Coming into difficult situations, Segal has surrendered only three earned runs and one walk while striking out five. Opponents are batting a measly .171 off the sub-arm hurler. Fellow reliever Clayton Edwards is also dominating the competition, having allowed no hits or runs in two innings of work.
Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Matt McColgan-Half of his hits this season have resulted in extra bases
1B - Robbie Blauer-Has a hit in six of his eight games played
2B - Alden Carrithers-Leads the team with three stolen bases
3B - Matt Clark-Batted three-for-nine this past weekend against Cal
SS - Chris Valaika-Leads the team with eleven RBI
LF - Brian Lee-Drove in one of the two runs against Cal
CF - Matt Emerick-One of two Gauchos to record a multiple hit game against Cal
RF - Mario Lewis -Second on the team with thirteen total bases
OF - Austin Hogans-Has not appeared in a game this season
OF - Brian Gump-Made his first start on Sunday against Cal
DH - Clayton Shank-Started all three games against Cal
Scouting the Lions
LMU, coached by Frank Cruz, is 4-10 and is coming off an exhibition loss to. LMU also dropped the third game of a three-game series to San Jose State over the weekend. The Lions were victorious in the first two games of the series (3-2, 15-7) before falling to the Spartans 6-1 on Sunday. Leading hitters for LMU are junior A.J. LaMonda (.310, 0 HR, 2 RBI), sophomore Eric Farris (.293, 0 HR, 9 RBI) and senior Kyle Mura (.263, 1 HR, 7 RBI). LMU's weekend rotation is slated to be sophomore right-hander Brad Meyers (1-0, 1.59 ERA), sophomore right-hander Andy Beal (0-1, 5.23 ERA) and Sunday's starter is still undetermined.
UCSB leads the all-time series between the two schools 58-57. UCSB's last win and loss to the Lions came in 2005.
The Brontsema File
2006 marks the 25th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 13th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 325-326 (.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 .701 winning percentage in 2001 was the best 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 Brontsema's coaching career include win no. 100 in 1997, win no. 200 in 2001 and career win number 300 with the 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13th, 2005.
UCSB has purchased the ability to telecast all home games using the online gametracker feature developed by Stat Crew Software, INC. Now fans can get online and see play-by-play summaries of the game as it is being played live. The system should be up and running by the Gauchos' next home stand against Cal Poly on March 10.
After the three-game series with LMU, UCSB will return home to host Cal Poly in non-conference action. The Mustangs have been in and out of the Top-25 rankings in the past weeks, and are currently ranked 30th in the nation according to Collegiate Baseball News. Cal Poly will have its hands full this weekend when they host No. 25 San Diego for a three-game set. San Diego swept then No. 1 Texas to open its season.