After Six Games On The Road, Baseball Returns Home To Take On 14th-Ranked Cal State Fullerton

April 17, 2002

Upcoming Schedule

* Apr. 19 vs. CSUF
R-Vasquez (4-5, 3.80) vs. R-Littleton (7-2, 1.37) 2:00 p.m.

* Apr. 20 vs. CSUF
L-Thompson (2-1, 4.47) vs. R-Merrell (5-2, 6.06) 1:00 p.m.

* Apr. 21 vs. CSUF
R-Garcia/Moran vs. R-DeJong (6-2, 3.69) 1:00 p.m.

Gauchos On The Air

KCSB 91.9 FM will carry all three games against Cal State Fullerton. In addition to the Fullerton series, KCSB will air live broadcasts of seven more Gaucho baseball games.

April 19-21 vs. Cal State Fullerton
April 24 vs. USC
April 25 vs. Westmont
April 30 vs. UCLA
May 17 vs. Sacramento State
May 24-26 vs. Cal Poly

Broadcast times will begin five minutes before game times.

Back In SB

The Gauchos (15-21, 3-6 BWC) return home after six games on the road to take on 14th-ranked Cal State Fullerton (24-12, 7-2 BWC) for a three-game set, beginning on Friday, April 19 at 2:00 p.m. in the friendly confines of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. UCSB is in a three-way tie for sixth place in the nine-team Big West. Gaucho ace Matt Vasquez (4-5, 3.80) will be going for his first Big West win on Friday against Fullerton Ace Wes Littleton (7-2, 1.37). Lefty Sean Thompson (2-1, 4.47), who held Long Beach State to one unearned run through seven innings will go on game two, against Darric Merrell (5-2, 6.06). The Sunday game will pit either James Garcia (2-3, 6.57) or Matt Moran (1-1, 6.56) against Jordan DeJong (6-2, 3.69). If Garcia's shoulder is still bothering him, Moran or possibly freshman Eric Posthumus (3-1, 7.31) will start on Sunday.

Remember The Titans

These Titans are not coached by Denzell Washington, but nevertheless they are very good. Cal State Fullerton, coached by George Horton (246-106, 6th season), is nationally ranked in several polls including a #14 ranking in Baseball America. The Titans are batting .302 as a team, .334 in Big West action, and have a team ERA of 3.81. Fullerton trails only Long Beach State for the top spot in the Big West. The Titans took two out of three over the weekend against Pacific and won in comeback fashion on Tuesday, 8-6 over Pepperdine, where the Fullerton pitching staff struck out a season high 17 batters. Former Titan Alumni include current major leagers Jason Giambi ('96), Phil Nevin ('92) and Mark Kotsay ('96).

Titans To Watch

The starting battery of Littleton, Merrell and DeJong are a combined 18-6 with a 3.52 ERA. Closer Chad Cordero, only a sophomore, leads the Big West with 10 saves and had a Big West freshman record 14 saves last season. Shane Costa is the leader of the Fullerton offense, batting .384 with 13 doubles, 34 runs scored and a Big West leading 18 hit-by-pitches. Jason Corapci leads the team with 27 RBI and three other Titans, Richie Burgos (.339), P.J. Pilittere (.325) and Justin Smyres (.306) are batting over .300.

Series Notes

Fullerton leads the all-time series against UCSB, 70-29 (.701). However last year, the Gauchos took two of three at Fullerton for the first time since 1996.

Gaucho Probable Starters

1B * Josh McCanne * Has a base hit in 13-of last-15 games. Batting .366 against Lefties.
2B * Chris Malec * Has a base-hit in 25-of last-28 games.  4 doubles and 6RBI in Big West.
SS * Dave Licht  * Tied for third on team with 29 runs scored.  Also has six doubles.
3B * Nate Sutton * One of four Gauchos to start all 37 games.  Walked 22 times.
LF * Blair Havens  * 11-for last-21 (.523) with eight runs scored in that span.
CF * R.J. Smith * Had game winning RBI vs. Long Beach State..
RF * Ryan Spilborghs * Has had three 5-RBI games.  Has 18 multi-hit games, 10 single-hit.
C * Taylor Vogt * Third on team with .323 Batting Average, has 11 starts at catcher.
DH * Matt Wilkerson * Team co-leader in home runs with ten. Second on team with 33 runs.

Weekend In Review

The Gauchos went 1-2 in the series with Long Beach State, making it the third consecutive series the Gauchos had gone 1-2. On Friday, Matt Vasquez had his worst outing of the season, giving up seven runs on six hits in 4.1 innings. Ryan Spilborghs went 2-for-4 hitting his tenth home run of the year in the loss...In game two the Gauchos came out swinging, pounding out 17 hits and scoring 13 runs to hand The Dirtbags their first Big West loss of the season. The Gauchos scored seven runs in the tenth inning on three hits, three errors, two walks and a hit by pitch. The 13 runs and 17 hits were season highs for Long Beach opponents...In game three the Gauchos jumped out to a early 2-1 lead, but the Beach clawed their way back while the UCSB offense failed to score after the second inning, ultimatley falling 4-2. The Gauchos had 11 hits in the game, all singles.

They Call Him Coach

Bob Brontsema is in his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 232-229 (.503). Brontsema is coming off his best coaching season at UCSB guiding the Gauchos to a 40-17 record, good for the best single season winning percentage (.702) at UCSB since 1986. The 40 wins were the most by a UCSB team since 1990. For his efforts, Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Brontsema has posted three straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.

Pitching Notes

As a team, the Gaucho pitching staff has an ERA of 6.10, which is second-to- last in the Big West. However, the UCSB arms have improved of late, sporting a team ERA of 4.50 (27 runs) in their last six games. This number is a huge improvement after giving up 31 runs in the Northridge series...Junior Sean Thompson has been the Gauchos most consistent starter for the Gauchos in conference action with a 1-1 record and 4.37 ERA. Since joining the rotation due to injuries to James Dayley (Back) and James Garcia (Shoulder), the lefty from Redondo Beach has a 2-1 record and 3.86 ERA...After getting off to a scorching hot 4-1 start, sophomore Matt Vasquez has run into his share of troubles. The Santa Barbara native has lost his last four starts, giving up 15 runs in 21.2 innings pitched...Senior Matt Moran got his first start as a Gaucho last Sunday pitching effectively for four innings, giving up two runs on three hits...Lefties Mike Sutherland and Kevin Miller have given the Gauchos quality innings out of the pen. Sutherland, a freshman, has a 2.25 ERA in Big West action including 3.1 innings of shutout ball in relief for Moran last Sunday. Miller has appeared in five of the nine Big West games and has is fourth on the team with a 4.71 ERA.

Hitting Notes

The Gauchos are batting 289 as a team, good for seventh in the Big West. However, a better indicator of the UCSB offense, is their runs scored on the season, of 272, which is third in the Big West. The 37 home runs and 15 triples as a team is also good for second best in the Conference. The Gauchos are batting .278 in nine Big West games. That figure is not too shabby considering UCSB faced the top two pitching teams in the Big West,, UC Irvine and Long Beach State, the past two weekends. The Gauchos actually managed to raise both teams ERA's after each series...The hottest Gaucho hitter, Blair Havens, continues to swing a hot bat, going 11-for his last-21, including a 4-for-6 effort on Saturday against Long Beach, and a 5-for-6 performance against UC Irvine four games ago. Havens leads the team with a .385 average...Ryan Spilborghs is right on Havens' tail in terms of average (.376) but is second to none in most other offensive categories for the Gauchos. The only regular returning starter from the 2001 team, leads tbe Big West with 42 runs, five triples and 103 total bases. Spilborghs, another Santa Barbara native, leads the Gauchos with 45 RBI, 27 walks, a .691 slugging percentage and ten homers. The ten home runs is a ten-fold increase from his sophomore season, when he hit only one home run...Catcher Taylor Vogt also swung a hot bat in Long Beach going 4-for-10 with a run scored and two RBI.

Defensive Notes

The Gauchos are fielding .963 as a team, good for third in the Big West. UCSB is fielding .973 over their last nine games committing only nine errors in those games. The Gauchos have turned 36 double plays, which is good for second in the Big West.

Los Alamitos Thoroughbred

Ever since taking over the leadoff spot for the Gauchos 14 games ago, left fielder Blair Havens has done nothing but hit. The junior from Los Alamitos is 25-for-61 (.409) in those eleven games including a 5-for-6 performance on April 7, against Irvine, where Havens also smacked his first home run as a Gaucho. In addition, Havens has seven multi-hit games out of the 14 started.

Baby Boppers

Freshman Chris Malec and Matt Wilkerson have made the transition as teammates from Santa Margarita High School to teammates at UCSB with relative ease. Malec, the Gauchos second baseman, is batting .322 with six home runs. He also leads UCSB with ten doubles and is second on the team with 41 RBI and 13 hit-by-pitches. Malec has already had two six-RBI games this season and at one point, had a 14-game hitting streak. Malec has reached base in 35 of 37 games. Wilkerson, the Gauchos designated hitter, leads the team and is fourth in the Big West with ten home runs. Wilkerson hit two homers in the Gauchos 15-9 loss to Northridge March 30, and also slugged three against UCLA on February 26. Wilkerson is currently batting .283 with 33 runs scored and 31 RBI. Malec and Wilkerson were coached at Santa Margarita by Tip Lefebvre, brother of former Dodger and major league manager Jim Lefebvre.

Spilly

If you come see the Gauchos this season it's a sure bet that #24 will be batting third in the lineup. Ryan Spilborghs, the Gauchos most explosive offensive threat, has been as good as advertised and even more. Spilborghs is batting .376 which is good for eighth in the Big West,and leads the confernce with 42 runs scored, five triples and 103 total bases, and is second with 45 RBI and a .691 slugging percentage. "Spilly", as teammates, coaches and friends call him, smacked his tenth home run against Long Beach State. Spilborghs homer was impressive because of the fact it was hit over the center field wall at Blair Field, a notorious pitchers park, and more impressive because it was done at night and further impressive becuase he recieved praise from the normally stingy Long Beach rooters in the press box.

Upcoming Schedule

Following the Fullerton series, the Gauchos will take a week off from Big West action before resuming conference play against UC Riverside on May 3. UCSB will travel down to Los Angeles on Wednesday April 24 to take on Pac-10 powerhouse USC for a 5:00 p.m. night cap. The following day, the Gauchos will return home to take on Westmont for a 2:00 p.m. showdown. UCSB will be off for the weekend before resuming play on Tuesday April 30 hosting UCLA at 2:00 p.m.

Big West Standings

			                   Conf.	Overall
 Long Beach State	    8-1	24-10
 Cal State Fullerton	 7-2	24-12
 Cal State Northridge 6-3	26-13
 UC Irvine		          4-2	22-17
 Cal Poly		           5-4	20-21-1
 UC Riverside		       3-6	22-17
 Pacific			           3-6	18-15-1
 UC Santa Barbara	    3-6	16-21
 Sacramento State	    0-9	15-19

More Gaucho News And Notes

* According to Boyd's College Baseball Publication, the Gauchos have the 11th toughest schedule in the nation.

* Ryan Spilborghs is the lone returning starter from2001 on the field for the Gauchos. UCSB had nine players drafted off last years 40-17 team.

* UCSB scored in every inning in their 16-5 win over Westmont. The last time that happenned was against Chapman College in 1985.

* The Gauchos scored 12 runs in the fifth inning against Creighton, in a 23-10 win on Feb. 23. UCSB also had 25 hits in that game.

* Josh McCanne hit a walk-off grandslam with two outs in the ninth, in the Gauchos 8-4 victory over Loyola Marymount, for their first win of the season on February 1.

* Ryan Spilborghs had a 35-game hitting streak in 2001. Earlier in 2002, Spilborghs had a 12-game streak. Spilborghs leads the Big-West with 39 runs scored.

* In 2001, James Garcia became the first Gaucho to win 10 games since Santa Clara pitching coach Tom Myers did so for UCSB in 1991. Despite Garcia's 6.39 ERA, opposing hitters are batting just .230 against him this year,

* Three teams (UCSB, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State) made the NCAA regionals from the Big West in 2001, with Fullerton advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.

* Nine Gauchos were drafted off the 2001 team. Jared Schumaker (5th, St. Louis), Jim Bullard (9th, Chicago, AL), Jamie Gonzales (12th, Detroit), Dave Molidor (14th, Cincinnati), Tyler Von Schell (15th, San Francisco), Jeff Bannon (18th, Cincinnati), Chad Peshke (33rd, Cleveland) and Jed Stringham (36th, Detroit).

* Oakland Athletic Barry Zito pitched his freshman season at UCSB before transfering to Pierce JC and then finishing at USC. Current Texas Ranger second baseman, Mike Young, was a teammate of Zito's at UCSB in 1997.