Gauchos Face Cal State Northridge in Pivotal Big West Series

Dylan Hecht (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Friday, May 10 at 3:00 p.m. vs. CSUN (30-18, 14-4)
Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 p.m. vs. CSUN
Sunday, May 12 at 1:00 p.m. vs. CSUN
All-Time Record vs. the Matadors: 72-55-3
All games at CSUN's Matador Field

• RPI Report
After last weekend's series win over UC Irvine, the Gauchos jumped 17 spots in the RPI rankings, up to No. 71 after having being ranked No. 88 the week previous. Despite sitting in fifth place in the Big West standings, UCSB ranks third among Big West teams in RPI, behind only Cal State Fullerton (No. 9) and Cal Poly (No. 36). In the conference standings, the Gauchos are just one game behind Cal Poly and UC Irvine, who are tied for third place.

• Epperson Nets Big West Field Player of the Week Honors
For the second straight week, a UCSB outfielder took home Big West Field Player of the Week honors, as Joey Epperson accomplished the task after an 8-14 weekend. Epperson provided one of the most exciting moments of the UCSB season, going 3-4 and swatting a walk-off home run off UCI closer Race Parmenter to give the Gauchos a Sunday victory and series win. He added a 4-5 day in the series opener, falling just a home run short of the cycle. Epperson has made a lot of noise since becoming a mainstay in the lineup, as he is now riding a 12 game hitting streak, tied with Cameron Newell for the longest such streak by a Gaucho this season.

• Getting Hot at the Right Time
With last weekend's series win over UC Irvine, the Gauchos have now won three consecutive series. That is the first time that has happened since 2003, when UCSB claimed three straight series from CSUN, Pacific, and Cal Poly between May 2 and May 18. With a series win over Cal State Northridge this weekend, the Gauchos will have won four straight series for the first time since 2001.

• Wearing Out the Big West
Despite ranking in the middle of the pack or lower for most offensive categories overall, the Gauchos have really turned up the offensive heat against their Big West opponents. In conference play, the Gauchos rank in the top half of the league in hits (third, 175), slugging percentage (third, .396), batting average (fourth, .287) and home runs (second, nine). Further, the Gauchos have four batters in the top-10 for conference slugging percentage – Epperson is fifth at .531, Robby Nesovic is sixth at .522, Woody Woodward is seventh at .516, and Brandon Trinkwon is eighth at .515. No other team has more than two players on that list.

• 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 Cal State Northridge series can be heard on AM 1290 and on UCSBgauchos.com.

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