Winners of Three Straight, Six of Eight, Gauchos Play Three With No. 12 Pepperdine
March 21, 2007
Games No. 21, 22 and 23
Saturday, March 24 - 1:00 p.m.
UCSB vs. No. 12 Pepperdine
at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, March 25 - 1:00 p.m.
UCSB at No. 12 Pepperdine
at Pepperdine's Eddy D. Field Stadium
Monday, March 26 - 3:00 p.m.
UCSB at No. 12 Pepperdine
at Pepperdine's Eddy D. Field Stadium
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters its three game series against Pepperdine with a 10-10 record. The Gauchos are coming off of a three-game weekend sweep of Loyola Marymount. They defeated the Lions in a pair of close games on Friday and Saturday (5-4 and 6-4) and then in a blowout on Sunday (11-2). Since dropping to 4-8 on the season after a March 6 home loss to Pepperdine, UCSB has gone 6-2 to boost its record to .500 on the season at 10-10.
UCSB will play a trio of games against Pepperdine, which is ranked as high as 11th in the national polls. The Gauchos and Waves will meet at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in the first game of the series at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday. On Sunday and Monday the teams will head south to play the final two games of the series in Malibu. UCSB and Pepperdine have already met once this season. On March 6, Pepperdine beat Santa Barbara in a slugfest, 13-12. The Waves hold a narrow 52-50 edge in the all-time series. Following the three-game set with Pepperdine, the Gauchos will return home for a single game against Cal on Wednesday, March 28 at 2:00 p.m. UCSB will then start a run of six straight road games when it travels to Fort Worth, Texas for a three-game series against Texas Christian on Friday-Sunday, March 30-April 1.
For the second consecutive weekend, UCSB swept a three-game home series from a Southern California opponent. Last weekend, the Gauchos took three from Cal State Northridge and this past weekend they used good pitching and timely hitting to sweep a trio from Loyola Marymount. In the opener of the series, right hander Steve Morlock hurled eight solid innings and reliever Justin Segal pitched a perfect ninth to earn his third save of the season as the Gauchos won 6-4. Designated hitter Cody Dee provided three singles and three RBI in the game. On Saturday, four Santa Barbara pitchers combined on a four-hitter in a 5-4 win. Southpaw Chuck Huggins made his first start of the season and after laboring through the first two innings, he settled down to go five. He allowed two runs on just one hit, but he walked seven and hit a pair. Segal pitched two more perfect innings to earn his first win of the year and left fielder Mike Zuanich belted the game-winning home run in the bottom of the eighth to break a 4-4 tie, it was his second of the season. Matt Anderson also hit his second circuit clout of the campaign. In Sunday's finale, Brian Tracy had his second outstanding outing of the week. The righty allowed just two runs and two hits over eight innings and evened his record at 1-1 as UCSB posted an easy 11-2 victory. Robbie Blauer paced the Gauchos' 13-hit attack with three singles while Chris McMurray and Gunnar Terhune each had a pair of hits. Dee had his first home run of the season as well.
Senior Steve Morlock will get the nod in Saturday's series opener against Pepperdine. Morlock is 3-3 with a 3.66 ERA. He has won his last two outings, defeating Cal State Northridge on March 9 and Loyola Marymount on March 16. Sunday's starter will be junior lefty Chuck Huggins. Huggins made his first start on Saturday against Loyola Marymount and lasted five innings, allowing just two runs and one hit. He did walk seven. Huggins is 2-0 with a 2.87 ERA in 10 appearances, nine of which were in relief. Monday's starter is undecided.
Possible Starters - Notes
C - Matt Anderson-Has hit in nine of his last 10 games.
C - Chris McMurray-Has had two hits in each of the last four games.
1B - Robbie Blauer-Dating to last season, has hit in 21 straight games.
2B - Matt Valaika-Is tied for the team-lead in doubles (seven) and home runs (two).
3B - Patrick Rose-Had his first multiple-hit game of the year on Saturday vs. LMU.
3B - Gunnar Terhune-Had two hits and two RBI in Sunday victory over LMU.
SS - Shane Carlson-Since opening the year 0-for-14, has gone 12-for-45, .267.
LF - Mike Zuanich-Has hit in eight of the last nine games.
CF - Chris Fox-Has reached base safely in 15 of his 18 appearances.
RF - Mario Lewis-Has a 10-game hitting streak going 15-40 over that span, .375.
DH - Cody Dee-Batting-Was 4-for-8 with one HR and five RBI in games vs. LMU.
DH - Steve Domecus-Batted two-for-five on Wednesday against Minnesota.
The Bob 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 358-358-2 (.500). 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.
Blauer, Tracy Recognized By College Baseball Foundation
Senior first baseman Robbie Blauer and senior right hander Brian Tracy were recognized on the College Baseball Foundation's Honor Roll for their efforts in last week's games against Minnesota and Loyola Marymount. Blauer enjoyed a 9-for-22 (.409) week over the five games. He had a 3-for-5 outing against the Golden Gophers and then ended the LMU series with a 3-for-4 afternoon while driving in five runs, poking a sacrifice fly and handling 49 chances without an error at first. Tracy got the start in place of injured righty Mike Ford on Sunday. He lasted eight innings while allowing two runs (one earned) on two hits, four walks and one hit batsman to earn his first win. Tracy also managed three strikeouts in the game. He also tossed five shutout innings on Tuesday against Minnesota.
UCSB's three-game weekend sweep of Loyola Marymount was highlighted by the continued emergence of the team's pitching staff. Led by Brian Tracy, Steve Morlock and Justin Segal, Gaucho hurlers allowed just nine total runs, eight of which were earned, and a mere 13 hits in 27 innings. The team earned run average for the three games against the Lions was a solid 2.67 and the trio of performances lowered the team's overall ERA to 4.72. While UCSB pitchers did allow 15 walks in the three games, they also recorded 17 strikeouts and an opponent's batting average of just .151.
Senior first baseman Robbie Blauer continues to roll. He hit in all five games last week, extending his hitting streak to 21 games dating back to the 2006 campaign. Blauer, who has hit in all 20 Gaucho games this season, enters the week with a Big West and team-leading .451 batting average. He was 3-for-4 in Sunday's series finale against Loyola Marymount and it was his 10th multiple-hit game of the season and the sixth time that he has had at least three hits in a single game. In addition to his 37 hits this season, Blauer has walked 11 times and has an on-base percentage of .521, a figure that also leads the Big West Conference. Even when the Huntington Beach native does not get a hit, he is making contact and has struck out just three times in 94 plate appearances this season. Finally, in his two seasons combined, Blauer has collected 98 hits in 266 at bats, a .368 average.
The Life Of Brian
Senior right hander Brian Tracy is coming off of his two best outings of the season. On Sunday against Loyola Marymount, Tracy tossed eight innings and allowed just two hits and two runs, one earned. He posted the victory in the Gauchos' 11-2 decision. On March 13, five days earlier, Tracy went five innings against Minnesota, allowing six hits but no runs. In the two games combined, he went 13.0 innings and allowed eight hits and one earned run for a 0.69 ERA. He also had five strikeouts and seven walks. For the year, Tracy now has a team-leading 2.77 ERA.
Picking Up The Offensive Pace
UCSB got off to a slow offensive start in 2007. The Gauchos mustered more than three runs just twice in their first eight games and they collected 10 or more hits just twice in their first 10 outings. The worm, however, has started to turn. In its last 12 games, UCSB has scored five or more runs 11 times and the only exception was a 2-1 win over Cal State Northridge. Also, since going for 10 or more hits just twice in the first 10, the Gauchos have done so seven times in the last 10 to improve their team batting average to a season-high .286. Over the span of 10 games, Santa Barbara has pounded-out 115 hits and batted .323.
Grand Theft Base
Through the first five games of the season, the Gauchos had one stolen base and through the first nine games, they had two stolen bases and had been caught four times. UCSB, however, has started to incorporate the stolen base into their arsenal. In the three-game sweep of Loyola Marymount, Santa Barbara swiped six bases, two in each game, and if you include the two games against Minnesota last week, the Gauchos hade nine steals in five games, including three in the first game against the Golden Gophers, a figure that tied their season-high. Since stealing just two bases in the first nine games, UCSB has stolen 18 in the last 11 games and over that same span only six base runners have been pegged while trying to steal. In the last 11, the Gauchos have stolen at least one base nine times and two or more seven times. Leading the way is center fielder and leadoff hitter Chris Fox who has six in nine attempts. Catcher Chris McMurray is a perfect 5-for-5 in stolen base attempts.
While UCSB has seen its stolen base success increase in recent games, its opponents haven't been as efficient. While the opposition has stolen 19 bases in 20 games, they have been caught 24 times. Chris McMurray and Matt Anderson have done a stellar job keeeping opposing baserunners in check. The cannon-armed McMurray, an honorable mention All-Big West choice in 2006, has nailed 16 of 30 would-be base stealers.
Senior reliever Justin Segal notched a save and a win in the first two games of the series against Loyola Marymount. Segal pitched a perfect three innings in the two games and since allowing a run on two hits on March 6, he has produced 6.1 innings of scoreless relief, allowing just one hit and no walks. Segal has seen action in 12 games this season and he is now UCSB's all-time leader in appearances with 87. In addition, his three saves give him 10 in his career, tied for sixth all-time.