Baseball Finishes Season Tied For Third in the Big West With an 18-12 Record
May 24, 2000
What A Week It Was
A sweep was a must for UC Santa Barbara as they went into battle against their Central Coast rivals, Cal Poly. The Gauchos managed to take games one and two, but dropped the finale on Sunday. Friday's game saw UCSB starter Gabe Neboyia pitch his finest performance of the season, a five-hit, 11-0 complete game shutout. Saturday's game was a back and forth battle. The Gauchos ended up on the better end as they scored one run in the eighth to take a 7-6 lead that turned out to be the final. Joe Isaacson earned the win in relief to improve his overall record to 5-0. Mustang starter Jared Blasdell limited the Gauchos to two hits and two unearned runs through eight innings on Sunday to earn the 4-2 win over UCSB. Phil Galer started for UCSB and went four innings, allowing seven hits and three runs for the loss. He ended the season with a 1-3 record.
Big West Race Comes To A Close
The race is over and the photo results are in. Cal State Fullerton and Nevada tied for the league title with a 21-9 record. Due to their finishes, they both have received an invitation to the NCAA tournament. Cal State Fullerton is a regional host team, while Nevada travels to Palo Alto, Calif. to compete in the Stanford regional. UC Santa Barbara, Long Beach State and Cal Poly finished tied for third with an 18-12 mark. The Gauchos earned the tie breaker because of their record against the other two teams (6-3). The final three spots in the conference are inhabited by Sacramento State (15-15), Pacific (5-25), and finally New Mexico State (4-26) respectively.
Player of the Week Honors
Two Gauchos have been honored as the best in the Big West in the final series of the season. Junior first baseman Mike Kolbach and senior pitcher Gabe Neboyia were the first and the last Gauchos to earn Big West Player and Pitcher of the Week honors this season, the surprise is that they came in the same week. Kolbach led the offensive attack all weekend in helping UCSB take 2-of-3 against the rival Cal Poly Mustangs. On the weekend, Kolbach went 6-for-11with a double and a home run, his first on the season. Neboyia earned Co-Pitcher of the Week Honors after pitching his final and finest performance of the year against Cal Poly. He pitched a complete game shutout on Friday, allowing five hits, while striking out six and walking one. With the win, Neboyia evened his record on the year at 6-6.
Four Gauchos Earn Honors
The Big West All-Conference Team has been announced and four Gauchos have been honored. Dave Molidor and Tyler Von Schell were named to the first team, Molidor as the third baseman and Von Schell as the designated hitter. Molidor finished the season atop the team leader board with a .378 batting average overall (.400 against the Big West), .567 slugging percentage, and .474 on-base percentage. He also finished the year with 42 runs, 68 hits, 14 doubles, one triple, six home runs and 50 RBI. Von Schell came on towards the middle part of the season as one of the lethal bats in the Gaucho lineup. He finished the year with a conference batting average of .333 with eight home runs and 38 RBI. Overall, Von Schell had a .292 average ten home runs and a team leading 53 RBI. Second baseman Chad Peshke and reliever Joe Isaacson earned All-Big West honorable mention honors. Peshke had a .368 Big West average with 36 runs, 46 hits, 11 doubles, two triples, three home runs, 34 RBI and 70 total bases. Overall, Peshke held a .333 batting average with a team leading 56 runs, 71 hits and 20 doubles. He also added 52 RBI and 104 total bases. Joe Isaacson was one of the bright spots in the Gaucho bullpen. He ended up compiling a 5-0 record in 18 appearances and 42.1 innings, all against the Big West. He also led the staff with a 3.65 overall ERA with one save, a better than 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio, while opposing batters batted a meager .265 against him.
Once again, the Gauchos have finished the year above the .500 mark at 28-25. This is the first time the Gauchos have finished above .500 in back-to-back years since they did so in four straight seasons from 1989-1992. The conference record of 18-12 is the most wins since they finished 18-3 in 1986.
What About Bob?
With a 28-25 overall record, head coach Bob Brontsema will enter next year with .479 winning percentage. In his seventh season, Brontsema has an overall record of 176-191, making him the third winningest coach in Gaucho history.