April 6, 2004

UCSB Opens Big West Play With Nine Game Winning Streak

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April 6, 2004

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Upcoming Schedule
Games No. 31, 32, 33
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at No. 10 UC Irvine Anteaters
Thursday, April 8 at 6 p.m. (PST)
n Friday, April 9 at 6 p.m. (PST)
n Saturday, April 10 at 1 p.m. (PST)

For the first time since 1990, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team has won nine consecutive games and will now enter Big West Conference play this Thursday against No. 10 UC Irvine. With a 20-10 overall record, the Gauchos are ten games over the five-hundred mark for the first time since the 2001 season and have scored in double digits in eight of the nine games of their current streak. Last week, UCSB claimed victories over LMU with a 15-7 midweek non-conference win, and then swept Sacramento State over the weekend. The victories improved the Gauchos' road record to 10-4 and they will look to improve on that mark as they play the final three games of this seven game road trip later this week against the Anteaters.

Gauchos Continue Rolling Against LMU
Junior right-fielder Matt Wilkerson launched his second career grand slam to power UCSB's offense past Loyola Marymount 15-7 on March 30. Right-hander Steve Morlock tossed five effective innings, allowing three runs on six hits while striking out one and walking none. UCSB took advantage of erratic pitching and set a new school record for walks in a game with 15.

UCSB Sweeps Hornets, Outscores Sac State 31-6 The Gauchos received stellar pitching performances from freshman Andy Graham and Morlock as Santa Barbara posted its first three-game sweep since March 2003. UCSB scored in double digits in all three games, posting 10-5, 11-0, and 10-1 wins on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, respectively. On Saturday, the Gauchos received inarguably the most dominating performance by a UCSB pitcher this year as Graham tossed a complete game shutout, allowing just six hits while striking out six. Then on Sunday, Morlock took a no-hitter into the sixth inning before surrendering a hit and eventually giving way after seven solid innings. The right-hander improved to 5-4 as he allowed no runs on just the one hit. Five different Gauchos hit home runs over the weekend including Taylor Vogt, who hit his team-leading six and seventh round-trippers on Saturday while driving in a season-high five RBI. Junior Matt Kalafatis, freshman Chris Valaika, senior Greg Powers, and junior Chris Malec each went deep as well.

On Deck
UCSB will begin the conference portion of its schedule this Thursday as the Gauchos travel to No. 10 UC Irvine for a three-game Big West matchup. Irvine has thus far posted the best non-conference record among Big West teams with a 19-6-1 mark. The Gauchos and Anteaters will face off at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 1 p.m. on Saturday with all games beings played at Anteater Stadium

Gauchos On the Air
Beginning with Thursday's game at Irvine, local Santa Barbara radio station KTLK 1340 AM will be broadcasting the remaining 23 games of UCSB's schedule. Brock Bowling will be on the call for KTLK along with other on-air personalities such as KEYT-TV's Jerry Fall. Other selected games can still be heard on UCSB's very own KCSB 91.9 FM with Danny MacLeith, Anna Olsen-Wheeler and Kelly Hayes. Thursday's game will also be televised by Southern California station KVMD-TV. The station can be viewed on Channel 31 by DirecTV and Channel 8021 by Dish Network (only by local subscribers).

The Brontsema File
Bob Brontsema enters his 11th season as head coach of the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. Last year Brontsema logged his 250th victory, becoming the third coach in school history to do so, and also cementing himself as the third winningest coach in UCSB history. He enters this season with a career mark of 263-269. Brontsema's team ended the 2003 season 25-28 overall and 8-13 in Big West Conference play. Brontsema's has been selected twice as Big West Coach of the Year. In 2001, his team finished with a mark of 40-17, good for a .701 winning percentage, the highest in school history. Brontsema's 2001 squad also had 10 players sign professional contracts after the season. Brontsema was also selected as Big West Coach of the Year in 1996, when he piloted UCSB to a 32-20 overall mark.

On the Mound for UCSB
Thursday
Michael Martin (RHP)
Record: 8-0 ERA: 3.18 K/BB Ratio: 1.1:1
Sophomore looking to remain perfect, has won eight of nine starts. Looking to become first Gaucho with ten wins since 2001

Friday
Andy Graham (RHP)
Record: 2-1 ERA: 2.57 K/BB Ratio: 1.9:1
Last Saturday pitched a complete game shutout against Sacramento State

Saturday
Steve Morlock (RHP)
Record: 5-4 ERA: 4.59 K/BB Ratio: 1.1:1
Posted two wins last week, including a one-hitter over seven inning against Sac State

Lineup and Fielding Notes
Head Coach Bob Brontsema used the same lineup in four consecutive games for the first time this season in the Gauchos' four wins last week. From top to bottom (Sutton, Powers, Malec, Vogt, Wilkerson, Rowe, Valaika, Emerick and Kalafatis) the starting batting order stayed exactly the same over the span. Brontsema began experimenting with a different lineup and defensive set beginning with UCSB's March 21st game against Cornell.
Since game one of their five-game Cornell series, UCSB is 9-0. In that span, with Bill Rowe in left field instead of first base, UCSB is 9-0 and with Greg Powers at first base and Matt Kalafatis behind the plate, the Gauchos are 8-0. Santa Barbara is also an undefeated 8-0 with Taylor Vogt as the designated hitter.

About the Anteaters (as of April 6)
Irvine enters this weekend's Big West opening series with an overall non-conference record of 19-6-1, best for any conference team. Having impressively moved up the national rankings to a season-high spot of No. 10 by Baseball America, UC Irvine has relied on dominating pitching and timely hitting in 2004. Led by ace Brett Smith, UCI has posted a team ERA of 2.86, second only to Long Beach State in the Big West. At the plate, the Anteaters only rank sixth in the conference in average (.276) but still UCI has won four straight, including two over Long Beach State on March 27-28. Overall, UCI has won seven of its last eight. On March 5-7, the Anteaters completed a three-game sweep of then No. 25 Baylor.

Series Record
UCSB leads UCI in the all-time series 37-30. Last season, UCI won the series, winning the final two games of the set. Both games went into extra innings as UCI pulled out 7-6 (11) and 6-4 (10) wins.

On the Mound for UCI
Thursday
RHP Brett Smith
(5-0, 2.30 ERA) Friday
LHP Glenn Swanson
(5-1. 3/76 ERA)
Saturday
RHP Chris Nicoll
(3-0, 1.58 ERA)

Gaucho Notes
Malec Honored by Big West Conference
Junior second baseman Chris Malec was named Co-Big West Player of the Week on Monday, March 1, by the conference. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native exploded for a .368 batting average over four games that week while driving in ten RBI and scoring four runs. In the Gauchos' 22-9 victory over Fresno State on Feb. 28, Malec went 3-for-6 with five RBI and two doubles. He collected hits in each of the Gauchos' games during the week. Malec also stole two bases over the week and posted a .474 slugging percentage. The selection was a first for Malec and also marked the first time any Gaucho had been awarded the honor since Mike Kolbach on April 23, 2001.

Freshman On Fire
Freshman shortstop Chris Valaika has not disappointed Gaucho fans despite extremely high expectations entering the season. The 18-year old from Newhall, Calif., is third on the squad with a .383 average. He is second with four home runs and has been extremely sure-handed in the field. Being the lone Gaucho to have never missed a single pitch in UCSB's 30 games this season, Valaika has only made seven errors at shortstop, good for a .958 fielding percentage.

Caution... Records Falling!
In their 31-3 rout over Cornell on March 25, the Gauchos set a new school record for RBI, twice tied the school record for at-bats in an inning, fell one run short of tying the school record for runs in a game and set new season highs for runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs and totals bases. UCSB tallied a total of 30 RBI, surpassing the mark of 28 set by the 1979 and 1997 squads and also knocked out 27 hits, including six doubles and four round-trippers.

Caution... Records Falling! Part 2
With 22 fielding assists, the Gauchos also set a new school record for assists in a game on March 27 against Cornell. The total eclipses the mark of 19 set against USC in 1990. Then on March 30 against LMU, 15 patient UCSB batters drew walks, setting a new school record for bases on balls in a game.

Streaky Gaucho
Ever since Coach Brontsema re-worked his lineup over spring break, junior catcher Matt Kalafatis has seen much more time at the plate. In fact, the right-handed hitting slugger has a nine-game hitting streak, the longest by any player in the Big West. In that span he has improved his average from .133 to .310.

Getting the Job Done
Gauchos batters are hitting .317 with runners in scoring position. Compared to their opponents mark in that situation of .268, it is easy to see why UCSB is outscoring its opponents by 111 runs.

Lopsided Competition
With 23 games remaining on the schedule, the Gauchos are just 28 runs away from tying their entire run production from 2003 (293). Outscoring their opponents 265-154, UCSB is averaging 9.07 runs per game, compared to 5.15 runs per game for UCSB competition. Throughout their current nine-game winning streak, the Gauchos have allowed one run or less in five of those games and have scored in double digits in eight. The only inning in which Santa Barbara is being outscored is the first where they trail opponents 21-32.

Caesar Uyesaka Construction
The third base side of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium will be under construction for the remainder of the 2004 season. Beginning on March 21, ground was broke for a new state-of-the-art clubhouse facility for UCSB baseball. Please pardon the dust and disturbance when at UCSB home games.