Gauchos Test Their Mettle Against No. 19 UC Irvine

Woody Woodward (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Friday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m. vs. No. 19 UC Irvine (28-13, 10-5)
Saturday, May 4 at 2:00 p.m. vs. No. 19 UC Irvine
Sunday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. vs. No. 19 UC Irvine
All-Time Record vs. UCI: 36-40
All games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

• Fight at the Bat Rack
The UCSB offense really clicked into high gear last week, as the Gauchos collected 10 or more hits in all four games they played. It is the second time this season that UCSB has had a four-game stretch with 10 or more hits, as they accomplished the same from Apr. 5-9 against Cal Poly and Pepperdine.

• Rank and File
So far this season, the Gauchos have accrued a 5-6 record against top-25 teams. Highlights include a 7-2 win over No. 17 Notre Dame on Mar. 12 – spurred on by Tyler Kuresa's 3-5 day – and a 2-0 shutout of No. 4 Cal State Fullerton on Apr. 14 that earned starter Robby Nesovic Big West Pitcher of the Week honors. They also won a series against Cal Poly at home from Apr. 5-7, as they outscored the Mustangs 23-11 over the weekend.

• Home Cooking
Despite their successes on the road last weekend, the Gauchos will be happy to return to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, where they have not lost a series all year, going 4-0-1, with the split coming against USF back in February.  With a .682 home winning percentage, the Gauchos possess one of the more noticable home field advantages in the conference, evidenced by the .282 discrepancy between their home and road winning percentages. UC Irvine has experienced similar home/road splits, as they have gone 21-5 at home for an .808 winning percentage, but have struggled on the road with a 7-8 record and a .466 winning percentage.

• Good As Newell
Last week, sophomore center fielder Cameron Newell turned in one of the finest performances by a UCSB batter this season, garnering Big West Field Player of the Week honors after going 9-14 for a .643 average over four games against USD and UC Riverside. He also walked once and was hit by a pitch twice, giving him a gaudy .706 on-base percentage for the week. Newell – who is riding an eight game hit streak – now has hits in 21 of his last 22 games and has reached base in all but two of his 41 starts this season. No slouch on the basepaths, he ranks seventh in the conference in overall stolen bases and second in sacrifice hits in conference play.

• Preseason Publicity
Following their stellar 2012 seasons, a pair of Gauchos were selected as Preseason All-Americans. In December, sophomore LHP Andrew Vasquez was named to the Second Team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, while junior shortstop Brandon Trinkwon was named to the Baseball America Second-Team. Brandon was also noted as the top defensive infielder in college baseball. In addition, the current UCSB freshman class was ranked as the No. 12 recruiting class in the nation by Baseball America, tops among all Big West schools and the first time the Gauchos had appeared on the list in school history. Perfect Game also pegged the recruiting class as No. 18 in the country.

• Gauchos Over the Air
UCSB Athletics and the Santa Barbara News-Press radio will broadcast a majority of UCSB baseball's games this season, with 30 games being carried over the air by AM 1290 and online through UCSBgauchos.com and another 17 games airing exclusively online. All three games of the UC Irvine series can be heard on AM 1290 and on UCSBgauchos.com.

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