Gauchos Provide Strong Performances Around the Country in Summer Collegiate Leagues
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The baseball season for UC Santa Barbara may have ended in June along with the academic school year, but the Gauchos are still hard at work this summer as they look to build upon their first NCAA Regional berth in 12 years.
The Gauchos are playing all across the country and are representing UCSB in four different leagues: the West Coast League (WCL), the California Collegiate League (CCL), the Northwoods League (NWL), and the Cape Cod Baseball League.
In Cape Cod, Austin Pettibone has shown clear dominance on the mound for the Hyannis Harbor Hawks as he earned two wins from his first two starts. After four starts, he holds a 2-1 record. His most impressive performance came with his second outing when he shutout Harwich through his six innings and dealt six strikeouts. Pettibone has demonstrated great command by only allowing one walk so far this summer.
Joining Pettibone in the Cape Cod League is first baseman Tyler Kuresa, who is playing for the Bourne Braves. Despite being selected in the 14th Round of the MLB Draft by the Atlanta Braves, Kuresa has chosen to return to UCSB for his junior season.
Justin Jacome has made a name for himself in the WCL, as he was recently named an All-Star after compiling a 0.87 ERA with 20 strikeouts and no walks in four starts for the Medford Rogues. Cameron Newell has been a standout in the league for the Klamath Falls Gems as he has recorded 18 hits in just 14 games.
Also in the WCL, Hector Lujan has allowed zero runs in 7.2 innings of work for the Rogues, while Freshman All-Americans Robby Nesovic (1-1, 4.15 ERA for the Victoria HarbourCats) and Dylan Hecht (3.06 ERA, 18 K's in 14.2 IP for the Corvallis Knights) have also impressed.
Woody Woodward is the only Gaucho in the Northwoods League, but he is looking right at home with the Mankato MoonDogs. After 19 games, the second baseman is hitting a team-high .354 with 23 hits and 9 runs.
One Gaucho is still playing his home games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium as a member of the Santa Barbara Foresters. Joey Epperson has had a standout summer thus far, as he is leading the club with .356 batting average and has recorded 12 RBI after 16 games.
Also in the California Collegiate League, Dillon Tate has accrued a 1-0 record with a 3.86 ERA for the Academy Barons, while outfielder Luke Swenson is hitting a respectable .280 for the Conejo Oaks. Both Epperson and Tate will participate in this week's CCL All-Star Game.
While the players are improving their respective games this summer, UCSB is also putting its efforts into improving the team's facilities with the opening of Gaucho Park at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium by Fall 2014. The park will be a flowing 1,500 square-foot paved plaza accompanied by a gated entrance, ADA restroom, full concessions stand, and a tribute to the ballpark's unique history. To support Gaucho Park, visit the Gaucho 9 website or contact Andy Graham at Andy.Graham@athletics.ucsb.edu.