Baseball Set for Welcome New Mexico State for Three-Game Series

Baseball Set for Welcome New Mexico State for Three-Game Series

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• The Schedule
Friday, March 24 at 3:00 p.m. vs. New Mexico State (13-9)
Saturday, March 25 at 2:00 p.m. vs. New Mexico State
Sunday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m. vs. New Mexico State
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 22-10
Last meeting: NM State takes 2 of 3 at UCSB: Mar. 20-21, 2010
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Lost 1 / 3-7
NM State Streak / Last 10:  Lost 1 / 6-4

• Gauchos on the Air
UCSBGauchos.com will carry live audio broadcasts of each game in the New Mexico State series, with Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall handling play-by-play and Kevin Cannon on color. Links will be available on gameday on the UCSB baseball schedule page or on the UCSB stretch portal

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: RHP Noah Davis (4-1, 4.09 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Bradish (2-0, 2.42 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Kyle Nelson (2-2, 4.62 ERA) vs. RHP Marcel Renteria (3-1 3.75 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. LHP Johnathan Groff (2-3, 3.23 ERA)

 • The Week in Review
UCSB won its first series of the month last weekend, taking two of three from America East-member Stony Brook. On Friday and Saturday, UCSB scored a combined 12 runs in the first inning and then held on for victories. The Gauchos tallied 20 runs on 29 hits in those two games. UCSB's offensive well ran dry however in the Sunday finale, totaling just five hits in a 7-0 shutout loss. With five strong innings, righty Brian Herrmann led the blanking for the Seawolves. UCSB's Ben Brecht made his first-ever NCAA start in the loss, striking out four in as many innings but taking the loss after allowing there earned runs.

• Gauchos to Appear on ESPN Twice This Season
The Big West on Wednesday announced that UCSB will appear on ESPN twice this season. The Gauchos' games at UC Riverside on Friday, Apr. 28 and Saturday, Apr. 29 will both be televised/streamed on ESPN3.

• Antagonizing the Aggies
Though UCSB doesn't play NM State very often, some of the most significant single-game statistical performances in program history have come against the Aggies, including:
Apr. 10, 1992 – UCSB hits program-record five home runs in the third inning
Apr. 20, 1996 – Gauchos hit seven home runs and commit nine errors, both single-game program records
Apr. 4, 1997 – UCSB totals 32 hits, hits two grand slams, Brad Wright has seven hits, all program records
Apr. 5, 1997 – Barry Zito ties school history with 16 strikeouts

• Home Sweet Home
Andrew Checketts has turned Caesar Uyesaka Stadium into a fortress since the start of 2014, as the Gauchos have gone 74-21-2 (.779 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 with the best home record in the country before dropping their last two series of the year. The Gauchos are 109-43-2 (.717) at home in the entire Checketts era (since 2012).

• 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 89-34 (.724) 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).

• Setting the Table
UCSB utilityman Colton Burns has been one of the top tablesetters in the Big West this season, as he leads the league in walks (18) and on-base percentage (.532) while ranking in the top-five in batting average (.393, third) and hits (24, fifth). He was named the conference Field Player of the Week on Feb. 27 after hitting .700 and reaching 16 times in 19 plate appearances against Tulane and CSU Bakersfield.

• Quick Starters
Last weekend's first-inning success was a continuation of a trend for UCSB, which has outscored its opponents 26-8 (+18) so far this year in the opening frame. However, the Gauchos are being outscored 99-62 (-37) in the second inning and beyond. Getting on the board early has been a key to success for UCSB, as the blue-and-gold are 6-3 this season when scoring first compared to a 1-8 mark when the opposition plates a run first.

• Blooming Bats
The Gauchos' offense has been warming up in conjunction with the arrival of spring. Struggling to a .225 batting average, .323 on-base percentage, and 14 extra-base hits in February, UCSB has turned it around big time in March, hitting .285 as a team (60 points higher than last month), getting on base at a .358 clip (35 points), and slugging for 26 extra-base hits (+12).