UCSB Has Lost Four Straight and Hopes to Get Back on Track Against LMU

March 10, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Schedule
Games No. 19, 20, 21 • Loyola Marymount
Friday, March 11, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, March 12, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, March 13, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
• Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

2005 Record
Since improving to 7-3 with a win over cross-town rival Westmont, UC Santa Barbara has dropped seven out of its last eight games, including four straight. The Gauchos were swept last weekend at Washington and dropped a non-conference match-up to Cal Poly 4-2 on March 9. Santa Barbara's last win came on March 1 at home in a non-conference match-up when the Gauchos defeated Cal Poly 11-8.

A Look At Last Weekend
For the first time since the 2003 season, UCSB was swept in back-to-back series. This past weekend the Gauchos were defeated in three straight games by the University of Washington after suffering a series sweep at the hands of no. 23 Oregon State the weekend before. Santa Barbara lost 6-1, 6-5 and 17-4 on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. On Friday, March 4, UCSB was unable to muster any offense off of Washington starter Tim Lincecum (2-2) who pitched six innings allowing only one hit and striking out 11. Senior third baseman David Figoni went 2-for-3 and pinch hitter Jack Pinkerton launched his first home run of the season, accounting for the only Gaucho run of the evening. In game two on Saturday, Santa Barbara mounted a late inning three-run comeback only to be defeated in the bottom half of the ninth inning. Starting pitcher junior Michael Martin pitched six innings allowing two earned runs off six hits. Senior first baseman Bill Rowe drove in three and senior second baseman Chris Malec went 2-for-3 with two doubles and two runs scored. In Sunday's finale, the Gauchos suffered its biggest lost of the season, getting trounced 17-4 by the Huskies, completing the three-game sweep. UCSB did hit three home runs in the affair. Senior Matt Wilkerson launched his second of the season with a two-run blast in the third inning. Figoni and designated hitter Brian Lee hit back-to-back jacks for the first time this season, giving Figoni three on the year and Lee his first.

Mustangs Return the Favor
The Gauchos' slide reached four straight games as Cal Poly defeated UCSB 4-2 in a non-conference match-up on Wednesday March 9. Pitcher Loren Fraser, making his first start of the season, pitched 4.0 innings allowing only one run off two hits and received a no-decision. Senior third baseman David Figoni extended his hitting streak to 13 games with a single to right field off Cal Poly starter Garrett Olson.

Weekend Rotation
Gaucho skipper Bob Brontsema is expected to go with a new weekend rotation for the LMU series. In Friday's series opener, Michael Martin (1-1) will get the ball and increase an already team leading 31.2 innings pitched. Junior Steve Morlock (1-3) will get the nod on Saturday and will be looking to get back on track after losing his third game against Washington.. Although he missed his start at Washington with a sore back, sophomore Andy Graham (2-1) will get the start on Sunday in the series finale.

The Brontsema File
2005 marks the 24th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement with the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 12th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. With a 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Sunday February 13, Brontsema became the third coach in school history to collect career victory no .300. The Gaucho skipper currently owns a record of 304-300. 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 tourney 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 win no. 300 in 2005.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Matt Kalafatis - Has started all 18 games behind the plate.
1B - Bill Rowe - Tallied three RBI in Saturday's defeat.
2B - Chris Malec - Leads the team with 14 walks.
SS - Chris Valaika - Tied for team high with five doubles.
3B - David Figoni - Riding a 13 game hitting streak.
LF - C.J. Cook - Starter 12 of 16 games this season.
CF - Matt Emerick - 2-for-2 in stolen bases this season.
RF - Matt Wilkerson - Leads the team with 20 RBI.
DH - Matt Aidem - Leads the team with a .364 batting avg.

Possible Weekend Pitchers
Friday - RHP - Michael Martin - Jr. - (1-1), 4.55 ERA, 31.2 innings pitched, 20 K
Saturday - RHP - Steve Morlock - Jr. - (1-3), 28.0 innings pitched 10 K
Sunday - RHP - Andy Graham - So. (2-1), 4.12 ERA, 19.2 innings pitched, 9 K

And The Streak Continues...
Entering Friday's game against Loyola Marymount, senior third baseman David Figoni has hit safely in 13 straight games. In fact, the Redwood City, Calif. native is pacing the team with 25 hits, 16 runs scored, three home runs and 36 total bases.

One Step Closer
With his second round-tripper of the season on Sunday against Washington, senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson climbed to number five all-time on the UCSB career home run list with 31. Wilkerson is currently tied with fellow Gaucho standout Jeff Bannon, who is currently playing in the Cincinnati Reds organization. With 10 more homers, Wilkerson will be UCSB's all-time leader. The Orange County, Calif. native launched 16 home runs as a freshman, four as a sophomore and 9 last season as a junior.

Relief At Its Best
Gaucho senior reliever Alex McRobbie seems to have picked up where he left off in 2004, earning an All-Big West Honorable Mention. So far this season, McRobbie is 1-0 with a 1.50 ERA and has already tallied three saves in three opportunities. McRobbie has made nine appearances, hurling 12.0 total innings. He has struck out ten, allowed only two earned runs and has held opponents to a mere .214 batting average.

The Roar of the Lions
Entering Friday's match-up, Loyola Marymont holds a 4-9 record, losing two out of three games this weekend to Houston and falling 6-4 to fellow Big West member Long Beach State on Tuesday. Center fielder Joe Frazee leads the Lions with a .432 batting average and 19 hits. Right fielder James Cooper has a team leading two triples, two home runs and 27 total bases. Friday's probable starting pitcher Steven Kahan (1-0) picked up his first win of the season holding the Cougars to four earned runs off seven hits in 6.1 innings of work. On the mound on Saturday, Brad Meyers (2-2) enters the game with a 2.70 ERA in 16.2 innings pitched. Jeff Stevens (0-2) will be looking for his first win of the 2005 season.

Series Record
UCSB and Loyola Marymount are as even as opponents can get. The all-time series record is tied at 56 wins apiece. Most recently, the Gauchos and the Lions split two meetings in 2004. UCSB stole an 11-9 victory in Los Angeles, while LMU came in to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium and easily defeated Santa Barbara 15-7.