March 9, 2006

UCSB Hosts No. 24 Cal Poly on Friday and Sunday, Visits SLO Saturday

March 9, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -

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The Schedule
Games 14-16
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. No. 24 Cal Poly Mustangs
Friday, March 10, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, March 11, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at Cal Poly's Baggett Stadium
Sunday, March 12, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

This Week
UCSB (4-8) will play a three-game series against No. 24 Cal Poly (12-6) this weekend. Friday's game will be played at 2 p.m. in Santa Barbara, Saturday's at 1 p.m. in Cal Poly and Sunday the two teams will return to Caesar Uyesaka at 1 p.m. to finish the series.

A Look Back at Last Week
UCSB is coming off a weekend in which it picked up its first road victory. The Gauchos defeated LMU in the series' opening game that began on Friday and finished on Saturday afternoon. The Gauchos and Lions were tied at three runs apiece after ten innings, and darkness forced the game to be finished on Saturday. Freshman Brian Gump singled to center field in the 11th to score pinch runner Chris McMurray from second base to give UC Santa Barbara the 4-3 game one win. In game two, UCSB was shutout by a combination of pitching by LMU starter Beal and reliever Wilson. UCSB managed to rack up six hits in the game, three of them coming off the bat of second baseman Alden Carrithers. Game three also belonged to LMU. The Lions posted nine runs on eight hits to take earn a 9-4 victory. UCSB out-hit LMU 11-8 in the game, but was unable to push more than four runs across.

Leaders in the Middle
Gaucho middle infielders Alden Carrithers and Chris Valaika have become the leaders of the Gauchos offensively. Carrithers leads all Gauchos with twenty or more at-bats with a .378 batting average. He also ranks first in hits (17), doubles (4), walks (8), runs scored (12), total plate appearances (54) and stolen bases (3). The Portland, Ore. native is also making his mark on the Big West leader boards. His .378 average ranks fourth in the Big West, his .467 slugging percentage is tenth and his .463 on base percentage is fourth in the Big West and tops on UCSB's squad. Valaika's .326 batting average ranks second only to Carrithers, his .478 slugging percentage ranks first, his eight runs scored places him second in that category and his fifteen hits are second only to Carrithers' seventeen. The Valencia, Calif. native ranks first in RBI (12), triples (1), home runs (1) and total bases (22). Valaika also finds himself on the Big West leader boards. His slugging percentage ranks eighth and his two sacrifice flies rank fourth.

Stellar Starts
Despite not earning a win in their games, juniors Andy Graham and Brian Tracy each dealt excellent games against LMU on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Graham dealt eight innings, scattering seven hits and giving up three runs while striking out six. The Rolling Hills, Calif. native allowed only three free passes (two walks and one HBP) in the game. The Gauchos went on to beat LMU, leaving Graham with a no decision. Tracy followed Graham's showing by throwing seven innings of five hit ball on Saturday. The Claremont, Calif. native allowed one run, issued three walks and struck out one in his effort. Tracy lowered his already stellar 2.38 ERA to 1.96 in the game. Unfortunately for Tracy, the Gauchos failed to score a run in the game and he earned his second loss of the season.

Gump the Gamer
Freshman Brian Gump has been a key player off the Gaucho bench and in the occasional starting role. Gump's seven games as a sub are tops amongst the Gauchos. His .400 average is highest of all Gauchos who have played in ten or more games. The Westminster, Calif. native also ranks fourth with a .467 slugging percentage, fourth with a .438 on base percentage and fifth in RBI (4).

Segal the Savior
Junior right-hander Justin Segal appeared in all three games over the weekend to run his appearance total to a team-high nine games. The Calabasas, Calif. native is sporting a 1.84 ERA in 14.2 IP. Coming into difficult situations, Segal has surrendered only three earned runs and two walks while striking out seven. Opponents are batting a measly .146 off the sub-arm hurler. Segal also earned his first win of the season in the 4-3 victory over LMU on Friday. Segal ranks amongst the best in the Big West Conference in many major pitching statistics. He ranks sixth in ERA, fist in opponent's batting average, seventh in appearances, sixth in games finished and seventh in games in relief.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Matt McColgan-Went two-for-six with three RBI in LMU series
1B - Robbie Blauer-Racked up a pair hits, two runs scored and an RBI against LMU
2B - Alden Carrithers-Had a double in all three weekend games; batted 6-13 in series
3B - Shane Carlson-Ranks third on the team with six runs scored
3B - Matt Clark-Has played in eleven of the twelve games, starting nine
SS - Chris Valaika-Went 3-5 with a double and a triple against LMU on Sunday
LF - Brian Lee-Has one of two Gaucho home runs on the season
CF - Matt Emerick-Went two-for-four with a stolen base against LMU on Sunday
RF - Mario Lewis-Ranks second on the team with three doubles
OF - Brian Gump-Went four-for-eight in the series against LMU
DH - Clayton Shank-His five games as a sub rank fifth on the squad
DH - Matt Anderson-Went two-for-eight with an RBI in the series against LMU
RHP - Andy Graham-0-2, 4.35 ERA
RHP - Brian Tracy-1-2, 1.96 ERA
RHP - Bryan Fleming-1-3, 3.00 ERA

Scouting the Mustangs
No. 24 Cal Poly, coached by Larry Lee, is 12-6 and is coming off a 2-1 series win over San Diego. Cal Poly took the first two games of the series by a count of 4-0 and 8-6, respectively. Although the Mustangs erased a 3-0 deficit in game three, they were unable to hold the lead in the eighth inning. The Toreros went on to take the game 5-4 and avoid the series sweep. Leading hitters for Cal Poly are junior Matt Canepa (.417, 1 HR, 12 RBI), junior Josh Lansford (..375, 2 HR, 8 RBI) and junior Brent Walker (.288, 0 HR, 7 RBI). Cal Poly's weekend rotation is slated to be junior right-hander Gary Daley (3-2, 4.41 ERA), junior right-hander Bud Norris (3-1, 4.60 ERA) and sophomore right-hander Evan Reed (1-0, 4.98 ERA).

Series Record
UCSB leads the all-time series between the two schools 78-41. UCSB's last win and loss to the Mustangs came in 2005.

UCSB Gametracker
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 this weekend's series against Cal Poly.

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 326-328 (.498). 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.

What's Up Next?
After the three-game series with Cal Poly, UCSB will continue non-conference action when it hosts Dartmouth on Thursday. The Gauchos will then play host to Texas Christian University. The Horned Frogs started the year in the Top-25 Rankings, but have since dropped out. They will look to regain a National Ranking when they play Rice, Texas A&M and Arizona State in the Whataburger Classic this weekend.