Gauchos Carry Three-Game Winning Streak into Tuesday Game Against Westmont

Gauchos Carry Three-Game Winning Streak into Tuesday Game Against Westmont

April 16, 2007

The Schedule
Game No. 34
Tuesday, April 17 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB vs. Westmont College
at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Games No. 35-37
Friday, April 20 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
Saturday, April 21 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
Sunday, April 22 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB vs. UC Irvine
at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara enters the week with an overall record of 15-18 and a Big West mark of 4-2. With their three-game sweep of visiting Pacific over the weekend, the Gauchos have equaled their longest winning streak of the season and they have now won four out of their last five contests, all in league play. The four out of five run has moved UCSB into a four-way tie for second-place in the Big West. The Gauchos, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State are all 4-2 and UC Riverside is 2-1. Everyone trails first-place Cal Poly, which is 7-2 in the Big West.

Gauchos Hope To Continue Getting Healthy At Home
After playing eight of nine games on the road, UCSB returned home last weekend hoping to get back on-track and it did. The Gauchos' three-game sweep of Pacific not only improved their overall record to 15-18 and their Big West record to 4-2, but it pushes them into positive territory in home games at 11-9. Santa Barbara will play four more home games before heading out on the road six in a row.

This Week
UCSB will host crosstown opponent Westmont College on Tuesday. The also played on Feb. 20 with the Gauchos posting an 11-2 win. On Friday, Big West play resumes with a three-game series against UC Irvine. The Anteaters have a 5-4 league record, 1.5 games behind the second-place pack. UCI, however, has been nationally-ranked of the season and has a 25-10-1 overall record. The Anteaters dropped two out of three home games to Cal Poly over the weekend. UCI has been solid offensively and on the mound. As a team, the Anteaters are batting .311 and they have scored 226 runs and they have stolen 84 bases. Their team earned run average is 3.85. Individually, left fielder Matt Morris is batting .365 with four home runs and 29 RBI. Second baseman Cody Cipriano is batting .322 with team-leading eight home runs. Overall, the Anteaters have eight regulars batting over .300. On the mound, they are paced by junior right hander Wes Etheridge who is 9-1 with a 2.35 ERA. Reliever Blair Erickson has a 0-0 record, but he has a league-leading 10 saves. In fact, on Saturday he saved the 50th game of his career, setting a new NCAA record.

The Week That Was
UCSB swept Pacific in a three-game weekend series. On Friday, the Gauchos fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first inning, but then scored the game's next 13 runs to take a commanding 13-2 lead. The Tigers scored seven runs over the final two innings to make it closer, but UCSB held on. Chuck Huggins went 5.0 innings and allowed two runs to secure his fifth win of the year and Mario Lewis homered and drove in three runs to lead the offense. Patrick Rose also had three hits and three runs scored. In game two of the series, the Gauchos piled-up a 7-1 lead, but Pacific scored three runs in the fifth and three more in the sixth to tie it at 7-7. An RBI single by Mike Zuanich broke the tie in the bottom of the sixth and then relievers Kyle Brown and Justin Segal combined for three innings of hitless relief as Santa Barbara won 8-7. In Sunday's series finale, UCSB won 5-2 as senior right hander Jeff Braun posted his first win of the season by hurling 6.0 innings and allowing just one run. Segal had another save. Offensively, Chris Fox had three hits and he was one of three Gauchos to belt a home run. First baseman Robbie Blauer and Lewis also homered. It was the fourth straight game in which Lewis hit a round tripper.

The Rotation
Senior Brian Tracy will get the start against Westmont on Tuesday. Tracy is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA and he pitched one inning of relief in Friday's win over Pacific. Junior left hander Chuck Huggins will put is 5-0 record on the line in game one of the series with UC Irvine. Freshman right hander Mike Ford will start on Saturday and senior righty Jeff Braun will get the nod in Sunday's series finale.

Potential Starters - Notes
C/DH - Matt Anderson - Has one hit in his last 12 at bats.
C - Chris McMurray - Has thrown out 20 of 42 would-be base stealers.
1B - Robbie Blauer - Has whiffed just six times in 154 plate appearances.
2B - Matt Valaika - In three games back from collar bone injury he went 4-for-10.
3B - Patrick Rose - Went 5-for-12 with four runs scored and two RBI vs. Pacific.
SS - Shane Carlson - One of three players to have started all 33 games.
LF - Mike Zuanich - Has taken over the team lead with 25 runs scored.
CF - Chris Fox - Went 7-for-12 with four runs and three RBI against Pacific.
RF - Mario Lewis - Enters the week having hit home runs in four straight games.
DH - Cody Dee - Tied his personal best with three hits in Saturday win over Pacific.

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 363-366-2 (.498). 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.

Brontsema Moves Up
Head coach Bob Brontsema enters the series against UC Irvine with 146 coaching victories in Big West Conference play. The 146 wins puts him three ahead of UNLV's Fred Dallimore for fifth on the league's all-time list. Brontsema would then need 20 more league wins to catch former Cal State Fullerton head coach Augie Garrido.