Baseball Looks to Rebound in Four-Game Series at BYU

Baseball Looks to Rebound in Four-Game Series at BYU

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• The Schedule
Thursday, March 9 at 4:00 p.m. vs. BYU (4-6)
Friday, March 10 at 1:00 p.m. vs. BYU (DH)
Saturday, March 11 at 11:00 a.m. vs. BYU
at Miller Park in Provo, Utah
All-time record vs. the Cougars: 7-1
Last meeting: UCSB sweeps BYU in 4 gm series, 2/13-16/15
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Lost 4 / 3-7
BYU Streak / Last 10:  Lost 1 / 4-6
Audio/Live Stats:

• On Deck
This week, UC Santa Barbara wraps up a seven-game road trip with a four-game series at BYU in Provo, Utah. The series is scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, with a Friday doubleheader beginning at 1:00 p.m. before Saturday's 11:00 a.m. finale. BYU does not play on Sunday. UCSB returns home next week to kick off a season-long 11-game homestand with a set against Stony Brook.

• Gauchos on the Air will carry live audio broadcasts of all four games of the BYU series, with Kevin Cannon handling play-by-play. Links will be available on gameday on the UCSB baseball schedule page or on the UCSB stretch portal

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Thursday: RHP Noah Davis (2-1, 2.14 ERA) vs. RHP Maverik Buffo (1-2, 4.50 ERA)
Friday Game One: LHP Kyle Nelson (1-2, 3.14 ERA) vs. RHP Brady Corless (2-0, 1.89 ERA)
Friday Game Two: RHP Chris Clements (0-2, 3.18 ERA) vs. LHP Hayden Rogers (0-0, 2.38 ERA)
Saturday:  RHP Steven Ledesma (0-1, 5.23 ERA) vs. RHP Kendall Motes (0-1, 5.14 ERA)

• The Week in Review
UCSB had a weekend to forget in Lexington, Ky., suffering a sweep at the hands of the Wildcats. UK eked out close one-run wins on Friday and Saturday before unloading for 12 runs on Sunday while starting pitcher Justin Lewis had a perfect game through seven innings before allowing a solo home run to Austin Bush in the eighth. The Gauchos scored just four runs in the UK series.

• On the Upswing
The Gauchos are coming off the two most historic seasons in program history. Last year, UCSB rode a postseason hot streak to the school's first-ever College World Series berth, winning a school-record 43 game against Division I opponents on the way. In 2015, the Gauchos won 40 regular season games, earned the first No. 1 seed in program history, and had a team-record 10 players drafted, including No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate.

• 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.

• Non-Conference, No Problem
UCSB has been tough to beat in non-conference play in recent years, going 86-30 (.741) 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).

• Just A Little Bit
Through the team's first eight games, a clear trend is emerging: score even a few runs and you will win. The Gauchos are 4-0 this season when scoring more than two runs, but the offense has produced two runs or fewer in each of the team's losses.

• On-Base Machine
UCSB utilityman Colton Burns has been one of the top tablesetters on the west coast so far in 2017. Burns has team highs with a .389 batting average and a .532 on-base percentage, and his 11 walks lead the Big West Conference and rank 16th nationally. Meanwhile, his OBP is just under conference leader Keston Hiura's (UCI) .543 rate. Burns was named the conference Field Player of the Week last Monday after batting .700 and reaching base 16 times in 19 plate appearances in a 3-1 week for UCSB.

• Bush Does It All
With defenses utilizing a shift against him, prolific power hitter Austin Bush has showed a more finesse approach at the plate this year, as his nine singles rank second on the team behind Burns. Still, Bush has shown he can punish pitchers for making mistakes, as his three roundtrippers this season lead the squad and rank second in the league.

• Streak Snapped
UCSB's 12-1 loss on Sunday represented the first time this season that a Gaucho starting pitcher has allowed more than three earned runs in a game, breaking a streak of 10 straight games to open the season. Three out of four projected starters this weekend (Davis, Nelson, Clements) have yet to allow more than three earned in an outing this year.

• No Friends of Utahns
UCSB is a combined 18-2 all-time against Utah schools, including a 7-1 record against BYU, a 2-1 mark against the University of Utah and a 9-0 record against Southern Utah. Interestingly, Thursday is believed to be UCSB's first ever away game in Utah (home-away designations aren't available for1971, in which UCSB played SUU).