Gauchos Head to Corvallis for First Postseason Action Since 2001

Joey Epperson (Photo by Danielle Rodriguez)

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UCSB Baseball Postseason Guide

• The Schedule
Friday, May 31 at 12:00 p.m. vs. Texas A&M (32-27)
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 0-0
Saturday, June 1 at TBD vs. TBD
Sunday, June 2 (if neccesary) at TBD vs TBD
Monday, June 3 (if neccesary) at TBD vs. TBD
Other Regional opponents: No. 3 Oregon St. (45-10)
and University of Texas-San Antonio (35-23)
All games at OSU's Goss Stadium at Coleman Field

• Ticket Information
All-session tickets will be made available to the general public beginning at 7 a.m. on Wednesday (online only until 9 a.m.). Infield reserved tickets are $100 while outfield general admission seats are $75 and student outfield seats cost $56. All-session tickets guarantee the holder to all six games of the regional, and a seventh if necessary game.

Single-game tickets will be made available on each day - pending availability - and cost $20 for infield reserved seats, $15 for outfield general admission and $12 for student outfield seats. The ticket office at Goss Stadium will open at 10 a.m. on the first day of the regional and two hours prior to the first game's first pitch each subsequent day.

Fans can purchase tickets by calling 1-800-GOBEAVS (466-2387), going online at BeaverTickets.com or in person at Gill Coliseum, which is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets can also be purchased through the UCSB Ticket Office by calling 893-UCSB.

• Media Coverage of the Corvallis Regional
All games in the Corvallis, Ore. Regional can be viewed online on ESPN3.com or through the WatchESPN app. Tom Hart and Paul LoDuca will be providing commentary for the ESPN broadcast. An internet subscription that carries ESPN3.com (such as Cox) is necessary in order to stream the games. The Santa Barbara News-Press Radio will also have a live call of the game on AM 1290 and UCSBgauchos.com with Gerry Fall, the Voice of the Gauchos, on the microphone.

• Postseason Primer
The 64-team NCAA Tournament is divided into 16 regional brackets, with four teams in each Regional. The four teams play each other in a double-elimination format, until there is one team left. That team advances to a Super Regional against the winner of another regional bracket in a best-of-three series. The eight winners of the Super Regionals advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The winner of the Corvallis Regional will face off against the winner of the Manhattan Regional, hosted by Kansas State.  

• Ending the Drought
UCSB's at-large selection into the Corvallis Regional represents the school's first appearance in the postseason since 2001, when the Skip Schumaker and Ryan Spilborghs-led Gauchos went 1-2 at the Super Regional hosted by Notre Dame. The 12-year drought was UCSB's longest since going 20 years between Regional appearances from 1952 and 1972.

• Corvallis Connections
The Gauchos have a number of ties to the Corvallis area and the state of Oregon in general. Head coach Andrew Checketts played three years for the Beavers, earning Pac-10 North Player of the Year honors in 1998 after going 11-1 with a 3.73 ERA as a senior. Oregon State was also the first team Checketts faced as a head coach, as the Gauchos went 1-3 against OSU to open the 2012 season. Sophomore lefty Greg Mahle threw a no-hitter and earned First Team All-League honors in summer 2012 playing for the Corvallis Knights. Assistant coach Jason Hawkins is a native of West Albany, Ore. UCSB's transfers from the state of Oregon include Tyler Kuresa (Oregon), Cameron Newell (Linn-Benton CC), and Parker Miles (Chemeketa CC). Newell was enrolled at Oregon State his freshman year before transferring to Linn-Benton.

• Going Streaking
With last weekend's sweep over UC Davis, the Gauchos have now won six consecutive series, the first time that has happened since 2001, when UCSB claimed six straight series between Apr. 6 and May 13.

• Record Year at Home
The Gauchos went 6-0-1 in home series this season, marking the first time in school history that UCSB went undefeated in home series for an entire year. UCSB's home stadium is Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

• Pettibone the Workhorse
Sophomore right-hander Austin Pettibone has been racking up the innings for the Gauchos, leading the conference with 110 innings pitched. He is UCSB's first 100-inning pitcher since Michael Martin in 2005. The Gauchos' Friday ace has thrown 100+ pitches in eight of his 15 starts, while his lowest pitch count (79) actually came in a complete game shutout. He has pitched into the sixth inning in every start, while reaching the seventh in all but two starts. Over his first two years at UCSB, Pettibone has totaled 17 wins.

• UCSB Against Ranked Opponents
The Gauchos have gone 7-8 this season against ranked opponents, the highlights coming in series wins over conference-mates No. 19 UC Irvine and No. 17 Cal Poly and a 2-0 road shutout of No. 4 Cal State Fullerton.

• Second Half Performers
After going 18-17 over their first 35 games, the Gauchos rebounded to post a 16-6 mark over the final 22 games of the season. UCSB has won 11 of its last 14 games while posting records of 7-3 and 14-6 over their last 10 and 20 games, respectively.

• Wearing It
With 94 team hit by pitches, the 2013 Gauchos are just one HBP away from tying the team record set in 2002. UCSB ranks ninth nationally in total hit by pitches. Woody Woodward, who has been plunked 14 times, has been the biggest ball magnet for the Gauchos, while Jackson Morrow (12), Robby Nesovic (11), and Joey Epperson (10) have also been struck 10 or more times.

• A Brief History of the Gauchos in the Postseason
The Gauchos have an overall record of 6-17 in the postseason, and have appeared in the NCAA Regionals nine times, including this year. Their other trips to the postseason occured in 1952, 1972, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1996, and 2001. UCSB's last postseason win came on May 26, 2001 against Milwaukee-Wisconsin.

• Preseason Publicity
Following their stellar 2012 seasons, a pair of Gauchos were selected as Preseason All-Americans. In December, sophomore lefty Andrew Vasquez was named to the Second Team by the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association after recording a 1.93 ERA as a freshman, the fourth best full-season ERA in school history. Junior SS Brandon Trinkwon was named to the Baseball America Second-Team after hitting .347 as a sophomore and starting the Cape Cod League All-Star Game. Trinkwon was also noted as the top defensive infielder in college baseball.

• Digging for Gold
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. It was the first time in school history that the Gauchos had appeared on the list. The class was also ranked No. 18 by Perfect Game.

• First Run is Imperative
UCSB has excelled when given a lead in 2013. When scoring first in a game, they own a 30-7 record as opposed to their 4-16 record when the opponent scores first.

• Closing it Down
The back of the UCSB bullpen has done its job shutting down games, as the Gauchos are 27-0 when leading after seven innings. Freshman closer Dylan Hecht is a big reason for that success, as he sports a lowly 1.93 ERA while ranking first in Big West Conference play in saves (7) and appearances (15).

• Morrow the Backstop
Junior catcher Jackson Morrow proved himself to be one of the elite defensive catchers in the Big West in 2013. The LA Harbor CC transfer led the entire conference in pickoffs (7) and runners caught stealing (22). On the year, Morrow gunned down 42.3% of his attempted basestealers (22-52).   

• Wearing Out the Big West
Despite ranking in the middle of the pack overall in most team offensive categories, the Gauchos lit up the leaderboards once conference play started, ranking in the top-three for batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, hits, runs batted in, home runs, total bases, hit by pitches, sacrifice bunts, and stolen bases.

• Picking Their Spots
In 2013, UCSB's top baserunners proved not only adept at swiping a large number of bags, but they also showed a staggering ability to pick their spots and not get thrown out. Joey Epperson (15-18), Cameron Newell (12-13), Luke Swenson (10-10), and Brandon Trinkwon (10-12) all had success rates of 83% or better. Overall, the Gauchos outstole their opponents 76-34 on the year.

• Doubling Up
The Gauchos led the Big West Conference for the majority of the year in double plays turned, but ended the season just one twin killing short of the lead. Still, their 50 double plays ranked second in the conference and 60th in the nation.

• Sensational Freshmen
A pair of freshmen have showed maturity beyond their years in becoming key parts of the lineup and rotation. Freshman lefty Justin Jacome spent most of the year as the Saturday starter. In that time, he accrued a 3.97 ERA while issuing the fifth fewest walks among qualified Big West pitchers and allowing the fewest hits in Big West play. Robby Nesovic had a team-high .343 batting average and finished in the conference top-10 in average, OBP, and slugging percentage. He delivered key starts on the mound as well, including 6.2 shutout innings at Cal State Fullerton on Apr. 14 and 6.2 innings of one-run ball at UC Davis on May 24.

• Scouting (2) Texas A&M
The Aggies received their school-record seventh straight bid to the NCAA Tournament after finishing 32-27 and advancing to their first ever SEC Tournament. Texas A&M went 13-16 in conference play and 2-2 in the tournament including a 5-0 win over #1 Vanderbilt (50-8). Shortstop Mikey Reynolds leads the team with a .343 batting average, 38 runs scored, 18 stolen bases, 72 hits and a .408 on-base percentage. First Baseman Cole Lankford is another offensive threat boasting a .332 batting average, team-high 34 RBIs, 15 doubles, and three homeruns. On the bump, Daniel Mengden has been the workhorse, pitching 107.1 innings and compiling an 8-3 record with a 1.84 ERA. He is holding hitters to a .193 BAA and he has 91 strikeouts on the year. Parker Ray leads the team with a 1.83 ERA in 59 innings pitched and closer Jason Jester is 3-3 with 13 saves and a 2.32 ERA. The Aggies have a 3-4 record in neutral site games this season and will take on the Gauchos in Corvallis on Friday.

• Scouting (1) Oregon State
The Beavers won the Pac-12 championship with a 24-6 record and enter the NCAA Tournament with an overall record of 45-10.  They are the fourth ranked team in the nation and will host the regional as the top-seed where they have a 22-4 home record. Rightfielder Dylan Davis leads the way offensively for Oregon State with a team high .344 batting average, 53 RBIs, 20 doubles and three triples. Leftfielder Michael Conforto has a team-high 9 home runs while batting .332 with a .457 on-base percentage. Second baseman Andy Peterson is batting .341 with a team-high 11 stolen bases. Oregon State is second in the nation with a 2.21 team ERA. Contributing to that is top starting pitcher Andrew Moore who is 12-1 with a 1.22 ERA. Other starters Matt Boyd (10-3) carries a 2.09 ERA and Ben Wetzler (7-1) has a 2.10 ERA. Boyd leads the team with 98 strikeouts in his 107.2 innings pitched. Top reliever Max Engelbrekt is 4-1 with a 1.46 era in 24.2 innings pitched.

• Scouting (4) UTSA
The Roadrunners captured the WAC championship after sweeping the competition in their conference tournament. Winners of seven straight, UTSA finishes the regular season 35-23 overall and 15-11 in conference play. Offensively, the Roadrunners are led by shortstop RJ Perucki who leads the team with a .349 batting average, 12 homeruns, 49 runs scored, and 27 walks. Centerfielder Daniel Rockett is batting .338 with 10 homeruns and a team-high 48 RBIs. On the mound, starting pitcher Brock Hartson carries a 9-4 record with a 3.10 ERA including one complete game on the year. Reliever and conference tournament MVP Matt Sims is 6-2 with a team leading 2.13 ERA, eight saves and 59 strikeouts in 55 innings pitched. UTSA has a 10-14 record on the road and they will face top-seeded Oregon State in the Corvallis Regional on Friday.

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