April 9, 2001
This Week In Gaucho Baseball (TWIGB)
Tuesday, April 10, 5 pm - at USC
Thursday-Friday, April 12-13, 3 pm - at Cal State Northridge
Saturday, April 14, 1 pm - at Cal State Northridge
Roll, Baby, Roll
The Gauchos are rolling, just ask Jim Morrison. They have won 13 of their last 14 games and have jumped to a 25-8 start, their best since beginning the 1984 season with a 28-4 run. After opening 2001 at 1-3, the Gauchos have gone 24-5, including two seven-game win streaks and their current six-game good spell.
On a 2001 Gaucho team that returns every starting position player from a year ago, improved pitching has been the key to UCSB's early success. This year's staff boasts an ERA of 4.04, less than half that of its opponents, at 8.57, and more than two full runs lower than last season's 6.28 mark. In 2001, UCSB's four regular starters (Ogle, Garcia, Bullard, Vasquez) are a combined 22-5 with a 3.79 ERA, and each has already recorded at least four wins, with Ogle leading the way at 8-1 and 2.97. In their last 17 outings, Gaucho pitchers have averaged seven innings per start and gone at least six innings in every game, with the exception of Matt Vasquez' 4.2-inning effort in a seven-inning game vs. Dartmouth. Finally, Ogle's win total gives him a chance to become the school's first ten-game winner since current pitching coach Tom Myers won ten in 1991, his only season as a Gaucho.
9 To 5
The Gaucho offense has been putting in work, to the point of outscoring its opponents by an average margin of 9.4 to 5.4 runs per game. UCSB's 309 runs in 33 games didn't come out of nowhere, the Gauchos have literally been hitting the ball like never before. Their .357 team batting average is the highest in the nation and 11 points better than the school record set by their 1986 counterparts. UCSB is outhitting its opponents by 87 points and has amassed nearly twice as many extra-base hits as its foes, 135-74. Included in that total is a 38-13 discrepancy in the home run column. In 2001, the Gauchos are averaging 1.15 home runs per game, just ahead of the 1.14 mark achieved by the 1986 team which hit 73 big flies.
The Celebrated Gaucho Infield, touted very highly in this space at the start of the 2001 season, has not disappointed. The foursome of Von Schell, Peshke, Bannon and Molidor has the four highest RBI totals on the team, three of the four best batting averages by everyday players, three of the four highest run totals and four of UCSB's top five extra-base hit collections. Molidor leads the team and is among the national leaders in hitting at .430 and Von Schell's 14 home runs (0.42 per game) not only rank him in the top ten nationally, but also put him just three behind Greg Vella's school record mark of 17 set in the aforementioned 1986 season.
201 Out Of 400 Ain't Bad
Bob Brontsema returns for his eighth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 201-199 (.503). Brontsema's 200th win came Saturday vs. UC Riverside, a 7-2 triumph. UCSB's best record under Brontsema came in 1996, when it went 32-20 overall and 14-7 in Big West games, good for an NCAA Regionals appearance. With his 28-25 finish in 2000, Brontsema has posted two straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.
Gaucho Baseball: Who's Next?
It's not the California Lottery, but it's still pretty darn exciting. UCSB will play at USC Tuesday before opening its Big West season with three games at Cal State Northridge beginning Thursday. USC is 23-12, while Northridge is a similar 22-13, winners of one of three in a Big West series at Cal Poly over the weekend.