UCSB Travels to Cal Poly for One, Hosts Southern Utah for Four-Game Weekend Set

UCSB Travels to Cal Poly for One, Hosts Southern Utah for Four-Game Weekend Set

March 10, 2008

The Schedule
Games No. 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18

Tuesday, March 11 - 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Cal Poly
at Baggett Stadium

Friday, March 14 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
Southern Utah at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Saturday, March 15 - 11:00 a.m. (PDT)
Southern Utah at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Saturday, March 15 - TBA
Southern Utah at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Sunday, March 16 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
Southern Utah at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara (8-5) plays its second non-conference game of the season against Big West foe Cal Poly (5-6) on Tuesday in San Luis Obispo. The Gauchos won the first meeting, 10-8 on March 4. The Gauchos then welcome the Southern Utah Thunderbirds (5-4) for a four-game weekend set. It marks the first time the two teams have faced each other since 1995, when the Gauchos swept the Thunderbirds in a three game series.

This Week
UCSB takes on conference rival Cal Poly for the second of five meetings scheduled this season between the Mustangs. Head Coach Bob Brontsema attempts to break the .500 mark against the Mustangs as his career record against Cal Poly stands at an even 31-31. The Gauchos then come back home to play four against Southern Utah from the Summit League. The Gauchos hold a perfect 5-0 lifetime record against the Thunderbirds.

The Week That Was
The Gauchos played a game apiece against conference rivals Cal Poly and Cal State Northridge, winning both contests 10-8 and 9-3, respectively. They then dropped a three-game series against the University of Houston Cougars, winning game two of the series, 9-7, but losing the rubber match by a score of 4-2. The Gauchos walked away from the week 3-2 overall, and 2-2 on the road trip, pushing their overall 2008 record to 8-5.

The Rotation
Freshman Greg Davis (1-0) will start the second game of his career against Cal Poly on Tuesday. The Glendale, Calif., native won the first start of his career last week against Cal State Northridge, allowing two runs in six innings of work, striking out six and walking only one. The Gauchos will then turn to their regular starting rotation for the weekend series. Sophomore Mike Ford (1-1) will get the nod in the series opener against Southern Utah on Friday. Ford's last outing came against Houston where he pitched six in- nings allowing three runs, while striking out nine and walking four. Mario Hollands (1-1) mans the bump in game two against the Thunderbirds, looking to pick up his second win in a Gaucho uniform. Hollands earned a no decision on Mar. 8 against Houston, allowing only one earned run in a career-high seven innings of work. Senior Mike Martin (1-0) makes his third start of the year in game two of Saturday's doubleheader. Martin's 1.54 ERA in 11.2 innings of work is good for second on the team. Finally, Chuck Huggins (2-1) will take the mound for the Gauchos in the series finale. After winning his first two starts of the year, the senior picked up a loss against Houston on Mar. 9, allowing four runs in five innings of work.

Fantastic Ford
Mike Ford pitched lights-out baseball in the season opener against Marist, throwing a seven inning one-hitter. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native walked only one, while striking out a career-high 11 batters. Ford is 1-1 on the year in three starts, having allowed 17 hits in 19 innings of work, while striking out 26 and walking only seven.

Power Push
UCSB leads the Big West Conference in homeruns with 12, and triples with seven, while the Gauchos .459 slugging percentage is good for second in the conference. The Gauchos have outscored their opponents 83-to-56 thus far.

Super Mario
Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands is coming into his own as a Gaucho. In three starts the southpaw is 1-1 with a sterling 1.96 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif., native has allowed only four earned runs in 18.1 innings of work, in addition to sporting an impressive 15-to-3 strikeout to walk ratio

The Bob Brontsema File
2008 marks the 27th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 15th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 379-384-2 (.495). He has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, first in 1996 when he guided the Gauchos to a 32-20 record and an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, and again 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, a day 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 over Long Beach State.

Matt The Masher
Sophomore Matt Valaika turned in a ter- rific offensive week going a combined 8- for-16 in four games. In addition, Valaika hit homeruns in consecutive games on March 5th and March 7th. The Valencia, Calif., native had a career day on March 5th against Cal State Northridge, going 4- for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI.

Fox Facts
Senior Chris Fox, an All-Big West Honorable Mention selection in 2007, provided con- sistent offensive production for the Gauchos last year out of the leadoff spot and has done much of the same early in 2008. The slick-fielding center fielder's three triples, six stolen bases, and .660 slugging percentage are good for first, third, and seventh in the Big West Conference, respectively.

Orange Oliver
Orange Coast College transfer Eric Oliver is proving he belongs. The Irvine, Calif., native has started all 13 games for the Gauchos at first base, while hitting out of the three hole. Oliver is second on the team in extra-base hits with five, and RBI with 11 . Oliver has also fielded his position perfectly in 114 chances. His 1.000 fielding percentage is tied for tops in the Big West.

Streaky Shane
After making the switch from shortstop to second base to begin the year, Shane Carlson has taken full advantage both offensively and defensively. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif., native currently owns a 13-game hitting streak, having hit safely in all 13 games to begin the season. In six of those 13 games, Carlson has had multi-hit performances. The junior is hitting .396 with a team-highs in homeruns (2) and RBI (12). Defensively, Carlson has blossomed, having made only one error in 64 chances.

Gumping For Greatness
Junior Brian Gump is making the most out of starting role as the Westminster, Calif., na- tive has started in all 13 games to begin the year. The sweet-swinging lefty had a career day against Houston on March 8 going 5-for-5 with a walk, two runs scored, three RBI, and two stolen bases. His current seven-game hitting streak has pushed his average to a team leading .412. Gump is second in the Big West Conference in steals with nine, and his 21 hits are good for fourth.

Three's Company
The starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins is 4-3 on the year in nine starts with a combined ERA of 2.83. The threesome owns an extraordinary 62-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio, and has allowed a mere three homeruns. The trio has pitched at least six innings of work in six of the nine starts to begin the year.

Senior Trio
The Gauchos return six starters to the field from a year ago, including the senior trio of Patrick Rose, Mike Zuanich, and Chris Fox. Combined, the threesome accounted for 34% of the runs scored, 33% of the team's hits, 29% of all homeruns, and 32% of all RBIs in 2007.

There are a total of 14 players that were not on the 2007 roster who will suit up for UCSB in 2008. Five of those 14 players are freshman, while the remaining nine transferred from other schools. Of those 14, three are infielders, five are right-handed pitchers, four are outfielders and two are catchers.

Chris Behind The Dish
Junior catcher Chris McMurray started 42 of the 43 games he played in last year, hitting .264 with 20 runs and 19 RBI. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native had separate four and five-game hit streaks from Mar. 14 to Mar 18, and from Apr. 27 to May 5. McMurray upped his aver- age .61 points over the weekend to .278, hitting his second home run of the year in the process.

Relief Corps.
Junior Matt Wade and Kyle Brown accounted for 54.2 innings last year and will be two of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for UCSB in 2008. Thus far, Brown has yet to be scored upon in six appearances. The crafty southpaw has struck out nine and walked four in 9.2 innings of work. The Gauchos three saves are good for second in the Big West, with three individual relievers contributing. Brown has one, junior Zach Samuels has one, and sophomore Clayton Edwards also has one.