UCSB Opens Big West Play on Friday vs. UC Riverside

Peter Maris (by Michael Moriatis)
Peter Maris (by Michael Moriatis)

• The Schedule
Friday March 30, 2012 at 3:00 p.m.
Saturday March 31, 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
Sunday April 1 2012 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara vs. UC Riverside (7-11, 0-0)
at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium (1,000)
Overall record vs. the Highlanders – 18-23
Last series win – 2008 (5/16 - 5/18 @ UCSB – 3-0)
Last series loss – 2011 (4/29 - 5/1 @ UCR – 1-2)
Last time out vs. the Highlanders – W, 9-5 @ UCR (5/1/11)
Streak – Won 1

• On the Radio
All 24 of UCSB's Big West Conference games, beginning this Friday vs. UC Riverside, will be broadcast live on AM 1290 in Santa Barbara and live online by clicking here. Included in the broadcast schedule is a majority of the rest of the Gauchos' schedule, which will be broadcast exclusively live online. To see a full schedule of Gaucho baseball on the air, click here.

• High Marks for Vertigan
UC Santa Barbara junior centerfielder Brett Vertigan has a hit in every one of the Gauchos' first 23 games and leads the team with his .413 batting average. While the team still has 33 games left, it's important to know that the highest batting average in single-season history was Bill Geivett's .412 clip in 1985 and the UCSB hitting streak mark is 35, set by Ryan Spilborghs in 2001.

• Gauchos Dominate, Obviously
Entering this week, UCSB is second in the Big West with a .298 team batting average and there are several other offensive categories in which the Gauchos have at least one player on top of the heap. Brett Vertigan leads the conference in hitting, hits, triples, total bases and slugging percentage; Brandon Trinkwon is tops in on-base percentage and walks; Lance Roenicke leads all conference players in doubles and stolen base attempts.

• Vasquez Vanquishes Villains
Six-foot-six freshman left-hander Andrew Vasquez eclipsed his previous career-high of eight strikeouts by K-ing 12 Rhode Island hitters in seven dominating innings  on March 16 and has struck out at least six batters in every one of his six starts. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native leads the Big West with a 1.23 ERA and 49 strikeouts. His .167 batting average against is second-best in the league. Vasquez has pitched into the sixth inning in all but one of his starts.

• Doing It All
Freshman Greg Mahle has been a huge part of the Gauchos this year as he has a team-high 20 RBI and his .411 batting average is second on the team. Mahle, who hails from Westminster, Calif., is also a pretty good pitcher.  The southpaw struck out 10 Fresno State hitters in 6.0 innings on March 13 and recorded a save with 3.0 scoreless innings on march 25 vs. USF.

• At the Polls
In the annual Big West preseason poll, UCSB was tabbed to finish sixth in the conference while Cal State Fullerton was picked to win the league crown. UCR was picked fifth.

• Gauchos Again
UCSB has a pair of pitchers on its staff who were drafted but decided to wear the blue and gold again. Right-hander Matt Vedo was selected in last June's amateur draft in the 49th round by the Los Angeles Angels while left-hander Kevin Gelinas has been drafted twice in the past three seasons but each time returned to UCSB.

UCSB Quick Fact
With two three-game sweeps already this season, it marks the first time since the 2010 season the Gauchos have pulled that off. The last UCSB team to have more than two three-game sweeps in a season came in 2008 when the Gauchos had five.

By the Numbers
4 – Members of the UCSB baseball team in the top-10 in batting average in the Big West. Brett Vertigan (.413), Greg Mahle (.411) and Bryce Tafelski (.407) are 1-2-3 while Brandon Trinkwon (.375) is 8th.