No. 23 UCSB Hosts Tulane in Home Opening Series

Noah Davis (photo by Mike Nesbit)
Noah Davis (photo by Mike Nesbit)

Full release in PDF format

• The Schedule
Friday, February 24 at 2:00 p.m. vs. Tulane (1-3)
Saturday, February 25 at 2:00 p.m. vs. Tulane
Sunday, February 26 at 1:00 p.m. vs. Tulane
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Green Wave: 0-0
Last meeting: N/A
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Lost 3 / 1-3
Tulane Streak / Last 10:  Lost 3 / 1-3
Audio/Live Stats: UCSBGauchos.com

• On Deck
This week, UC Santa Barbara welcomes New Orleans-based Tulane to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for the first home games on campus in 2017. Opening Day at Uyesaka Stadium is slated for 2:00 p.m. on Friday, with follow-up games on Saturday at 2:00 p.m. and Sunday at 1:00 p.m. This is the first time the Gauchos and Green Wave have faced each other, though they were both in the field for the inaugural Tony Gwynn Classic Tournament in 2016.

• Gauchos on the Air
UCSBGauchos.com will carry live audio broadcasts of all three games of the Tulane series, with Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall on the mic. To access the broadcast, click here or look for links on the UCSB baseball schedule page

• Follow Along Live
Fans who can't make it out to the game have a number of options for following UCSB Baseball. The best way is to follow the Team twitter account here for live updates, breaking news, and exclusive content. Fans can also follow along with Live Stats through UCSBGauchos.com, available after first pitch at every home game. 

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: RHP Noah Davis (1-0, 1.50 ERA) vs. RHP Corey Merrill (1-0, 2.57 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Kyle Nelson (0-1, 2.25 ERA) vs. RHP J.P. France (0-0, 2.57 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Joe Record (0-1, 7.36 ERA) vs. LHP Ross Massey (0-1, 12.00 ERA)

• The Week in Review
The Gauchos had a tough first week of 2017, winning 6-3 on Opening Day at LMU, but then dropping the next two games to the Lions before falling 2-1 in a tight midweek affair at CSU Bakersfield. Junior shortstop Clay Fisher was UCSB's top performer at LMU, going 4-11 with three RBIs, two walks, and two extra-base hits. With a solid six inning start, Noah Davis put together the best statistical performance by a Gaucho pitcher last week. The series with LMU was moved to Page Stadium in Los Angeles due to severe weather in the Santa Barbara area.

• Poll Position
UCSB appeared in a trio of major national polls this week, coming in as high as No. 23 (USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll. The Gauchos also checked in at No. 24 (Baseball America) and No. 26 (Collegiate Baseball).

• 2016 in Brief
The Gauchos are coming off the most historic season in school history, as in 2016 they made it to the College World Series for the first time ever, knocking off the No. 2 and No. 3 national seeds during their extraordinary postseason run. UCSB checked off a number of program firsts en route to Omaha, winning its first ever Regional, first Super Regional, and winning a school-record 43 games against Division I opponents (prev: 40 in 2015).

• Preseason Publicity
UCSB was ranked in nearly every major preseason poll, coming in as high as No. 18 (Collegiate Baseball) while also appearing at No. 19 (Baseball America), No. 21 (NCBWA), No. 23 (USA Today), and No. 25 (D1Baseball). The Gauchos were also picked to finish second in the always-strong Big West Conference.

• Feeling the Power
Five players from UCSB were included on D1Baseball's positional power rankings, unveiled just before the start of the season. Kyle Nelson (No. 6 reliever) and Clay Fisher (No. 9 shortstop) were both ranked in the top-10 at their respective positions, while Austin Bush (No. 17 first baseman) and JJ Muno (No. 29 third baseman) also received high marks. Rounding out the list were Davis (No. 107 starting pitcher) and Joe Record (No. 189 starting pitcher).

• Bright Future
Over the last two years, UCSB has turned in two of the best seasons in program history, and the coaching staff is working hard to make sure that success is not a blip on the radar. To that end, the Gauchos this year brought in the No. 9 recruiting class nationwide, the highest in program history. The class consists of three MLB draftees and seven Area Code Game participants. Newcomers Colton Burns (.385/.500/.615), Landon Silver (.375 BA), Steven Ledesma (4 IP, 0 R), and AJ Woodall (3 apps, 0 R) have all made immediate contributions.

• Home Sweet Home
Andrew Checketts has turned Caesar Uyesaka Stadium into a fortress since the start of the 2014 season, as the Gauchos have gone 69-19-2 (.784 win percentage) on their home turf in that time. They were dominant at home again last year, going 24-6 (.800) and threatening to finish the year with the best home record in the country before dropping their last two series of the year at Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos are 104-41-2 (.717) at home in the entire Checketts era (since 2012).

• Non-Conference, No Problem
UCSB has been tough to beat in non-conference play in recent years, going 83-26 (.761) against out-of-league foes since 2014. This trend has been doubly true at home, as the Gauchos have lost a total of one non-conference series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium since the start of the 2013 season (Oregon in 2015).

• Bats Struggling
UCSB has had trouble getting the bats going in its early season-slide, totaling four hits or fewer in each of the past three games. History suggests this trend won't continue however, as UCSB didn't go back-to-back games with less than four hits all year in 2016.