No. 13 Gauchos Face Tough Road Test as They Travel to No. 5 Cal Poly

Tyler Kuresa
Tyler Kuresa

Full release, including stats and player notes

• The Schedule
Friday, Apr. 4 at 6:00 p.m. at No. 5 Cal Poly (24-4, 3-0)
Saturday, Apr. 5 at 6:00 p.m. at Cal Poly
Sunday, Apr. 6 at 1:00 p.m. at Cal Poly
All-Time Record vs. Mustangs: 90-64-1
2013 series: 3-3 split
Cal Poly Streak/Last 10: Won 6/9-1

• Probable Starters
Friday: RHP Austin Pettibone (2-0, 1.12 ERA) vs. LHP Matt Imfof (6-1, 1.05 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Justin Jacome (4-1, 2.41 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Calomeni (5-1, 3.19 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Shane Bieber (1-0, 3.54 ERA) vs. RHP Casey Bloomquist (6-0, 1.48 ERA)

• Pulse on the Polls
With the Gauchos going 1-2 last week, they slipped a few spots in the national polls. After earning its first top-10 ranking since 1986, UCSB is as high as No. 13 in this week's polls (Collegiate Baseball, previously 10). They appeared in all five national polls for the second consecutive week, including a No. 16 ranking in Perfect Game, No. 17 in Baseball America, and 23rd in both the NCBWA and USA Today/ESPN Coaches Poll.

• RPI Report
The official NCAA RPI made its debut this week, placing UCSB at the No. 47 spot, third best among Big West programs. The Gauchos have been ranked as high as No. 11 in unofficial RPI formulations over the 2014 season.

• Sensational Start
At 19-5 overall, the Gauchos are off to their second best 24-game start in program history (1984: 21-3). The team's .791 winning percentage ranks 10th in the nation and second among West Region teams. Through 24 games, UCSB has still yet to lose consecutive games.

• Unfamiliar Feeling
With a series loss to Hawai'i last weekend, the Gauchos snapped a number of lengthy streaks. It was the team's first series loss of the season and first overall since Apr. 12-14, 2013. That broke a run of winning 15 straight series and 10 straight 3+ game series. It was also their first home series loss since  May 11-13, 2012.

• Shortening the Game
Thanks to a standout bullpen, UCSB has been extremely successful when establishing an early lead or participating in close games. So far this season, the Gauchos are an undefeated 14-0 when leading after six innings and they are 7-0 in one-run games. Flamethrowing closer Dillon Tate is at the forefront of the relieving corps with an unscathed ERA and 14 strikeouts in 12.1 innings pitched. Junior lefty Greg Mahle has been as reliable as they come, leading the team in wins and appearances and ranking third in innings pitched despite making no starts.

• All-Around Offense
Heading into the second week of conference play, the Gauchos still lead the Big West as a team in batting average (.307, 13th in the country), hit by pitches (48), on-base percentage (.401), and stolen bases (57, third most in the country). They also rank among the top-50 nationwide and second in the conference in runs with 164.

• Winning is What He Does
Making his first Friday start of the year and inching his way back to full health, junior right-hander Austin Pettibone has the chance to make UCSB history this season. After coming into the year with 18 career wins and racking up two more over the last two weeks, he currently sits seventh in program history in career victories. With his next one, he will move to fourth all-time in wins. UCSB's all-time leader in "W's" is Dan Yokubaitis with 25 from 1980-83, a figure attainable by Austin this season as he is scheduled to make at least eight more starts in 2014 assuming full health.

• Ball Magnets
The Gauchos set a program record with 97 hit by pitches in 2013, but this year's team is set to best that mark. With 48 HBPs (2.0 per game) so far, UCSB is on pace to finish the season with 98.