UCSB Visits UCI for Three-Game Conference Series

April 21, 2006


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The Schedule
Games 34-36
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. UC Irvine Anteaters
Friday, April 21, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at UCI's Anteater Ballpark
Saturday, April 22, 2006 at 6:00 p.m. at UCI's Anteater Ballpark
Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCI's Anteater Ballpark

This Week
UCSB (15-18, 2-4) will take on UCI (22-16, 3-6) in a three-game conference series over the weekend. Game one is scheduled to start at 6 p.m., game two is slated for 6 p.m. and Sunday's series finale is scheduled to be played at 1 p.m.

A Look Back at Last Week
UCSB is coming off week in which it went 1-3 in the win/loss column. The Gauchos dropped a three-game series 2-1 at Pacific before falling once more on Tuesday at Pepperdine. UCSB dropped game one to the Tigers by a count of 7-2. UCSB lost a close one on Friday, falling 2-1 in game two. The Gauchos avoided the sweep on Saturday, defeating the Tigers 16-4. After the conference series loss, UCSB fell to Pepperdine by a score of 8-1 earlier this week. The Gauchos caused many of its own problems, committing five errors in the game.

The Dynamic Duo
Middle infielders Chris Valaika and Alden Carrithers have put up stellar numbers thus far this season, with one of them leading in most offensive categories. Carrithers leads the team in batting average (.371), on-base percentage (.493), runs scored (38), walks (29) and stolen bases (6). Valaika leads the team in hits (49), RBI (37), doubles (10), home runs (6), total bases(79), sac flies (4), stolen base percentage (1.000), total plate appearances (150) and at bats (135). Carrithers ranks second to Valaika in hits, doubles, total bases, total plate appearances and at bats. Valaika ranks second to his second baseman in batting average and runs scored. There has only been one game in which neither Valaika nor Carrithers connected for at least one hit, March 27 against the University of Hawaii. Carrithers has yet to have a streak of three consecutive games without a hit, and he has only been hitless in two straight games twice this season. Valaika had a stretch of three games (Feb. 26-Mar. 4) without a hit, but that is the only stretch of games he has not connected for a hit. The Valencia, Calif. native has been hitless on only eight occasions this season. Carrithers, a Portland, Ore. native, has been held to no hits only seven times this year.

Freshman Chris McMurray has made his presence felt as of late. With an injury to usual starting catcher Matt McColgan, McMurray and a few other backstops have filled the void behind the dish. The Mission Viejo, Calif. native has made nine starts on the season, including four of the last five games. McMurray is riding a seven game hit streak, in which he connected for multiple hits on three occasions. Over the streak, he is hitting .400 (10-for-25) with six runs scored, five RBI and one home run. At the start of the streak, McMurray was batting .182, but with the hot hitting, he is batting .333 which ranks third on the team behind sophomore Alden Carrithers (.371) and junior shortstop Chris Valaika (.363).

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Chris McMurray - Currently riding a seven-game hit streak
1B - Robbie Blauer - Ranks second on the team with 20 walks
2B - Alden Carrithers - Has hit safely in 16 of his last 19 games
3B - Shane Carlson - Went two-for-four with two runs scored against Pacific on Apr. 15
3B - Matt Clark - Batted one-for-four against Pepperdine on Apr. 18
SS - Chris Valaika - Batting .415 over the past 10 games (17-for-41)
LF - Brian Lee - Went 2-7 with two runs scored, an RBI and a homerun in Pacific series
CF - Matt Emerick - Has hit safely in nine of his last eleven games
RF - Mario Lewis - Tied for second on the team with one triple
OF - Brian Gump - Batted 2-6 with a double, three runs scored and two RBI on Apr. 15
RHP - Andy Graham - 3-4, 5.16 ERA
RHP - Brian Tracy - 1-1, 2.37 ERA
RHP - Bryan Fleming - 2-4, 4.22 ERA

Scouting the Anteaters
UCI, coached by Dave Serrano, is 22-16 overall and 3-6 in the Big West. The Anteaters are coming off a 5-0 victory over No. 22 USC on Tuesday. Prior to the win, Irvine earned a 2-1 conference series victory over Cal Poly by taking the last two games of the three-game series. Cal Poly defeated UCI by a count of 2-1 on Thursday before falling 4-3 and 4-1 Friday and Saturday. Leading hitters for UCI are senior Gary Dudrey (.360, 1 HR, 10 RBI), junior Cody Cipriano (.330, 2 HR, 17 RBI) and senior Jamie Martinez (.305, 3 HR, 30 RBI). Pacific's weekend rotation is slated to be junior right-hander Justin Cassel (3-7, 4.42 ERA), freshman right-hander Scott Gorgen (5-2, 2.08 ERA) and Sunday's starter has yet to be determined.

Series Record
The all-time series between the two teams is tied 34-34.

The Brontsema File
2006 marks the 25th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 13th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 337-338 (.499). 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 .701 winning percentage in 2001 was the best 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 Brontsema's coaching career include win no. 100 in 1997, win no. 200 in 2001 and career win number 300 with the 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13th, 2005.

What's Up Next?
After the three-game series with UCI, UCSB will visit UCLA on Tuesday, April 25 before continuing conference action when it hosts Cal State Northridge for a three-game series starting on Friday, April 28. Game one is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, game two is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game three is scheduled for 1 p.m.