UCSB Hosts UC Davis For Three-Game Big West Set

Tommy Jew (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Tommy Jew (photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Friday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m. vs. UC Davis (13-23, 5-10 Big West)
Saturday, May 6 at 2:00 p.m. vs. UC Davis
Sunday, May 7 at 1:00 p.m. vs. UC Davis
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Aggies: 21-15
Record vs. UCD in Checketts era: 12-3
UCSB home record / UCD away record: 14-9 / 4-12
2016 series: UCD wins 2 of 3 at home, May 6-8
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Won 1 / 5-5
UCD Streak / Last 10:  Won 1 / 4-6
UCSB / UCD RPI: 114 / 160 (as of May 3)

• Gauchos on the Air
All three of this weekend's UCSB baseball games will feature live video and audio broadcasts on UCSBGauchos.com. Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall will will handle play-by-play for the video streams alongside color commentator Bob Brontsema, former UCSB head baseball coach. Kevin Cannon will be on the mic for the audio broadcasts. Links to each broadcast can be found on the UCSB baseball schedule page

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: LHP Kyle Nelson (5-3, 4.57 ERA) vs. LHP Orlando Razo (5-2, 4.36 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Chris Clements (1-6, 6.88 ERA) vs. RHP Justin Mullins (1-3, 5.13 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Chris Lincoln (1-1, 3.44 ERA) vs. LHP Robert Garcia (1-5, 4.58 ERA)

• The Week in Review
UCSB is coming off its second straight 2-2 week, defeating CSU Bakersfield in a midweek clash before losing two of three on the road at UC Riverside. The Gauchos battled back from a 4-0 deficit in Tuesday's win over the Roadrunners, as the bullpen threw five shutout innings while Colton Burns (two RBIs) and Austin Bush (go-ahead home run) keyed the offense. UCSB dropped its opener against UCR in heartbreaking fashion, losing on an 11th inning walk-off error. Four RBIs from Bush wasn't enough in a Saturday loss, but UCSB recovered for a 6-5 series-salvaging win on Sunday. Tommy Jew played the hero in that contest, tripling and scoring the go-ahead run in the top of the ninth before making a full-length diving catch in right-center to prevent extra bases in the bottom of the ninth.

• Through the Quad and Into the Gymnasium
Heading into this weekend's action against UC Davis, a pair of Gauchos are going streaking. Freshman center fielder Tommy Jew has hit safely in 17 straight contests. That is the longest hitting streak by a UCSB player since Peter Maris had a 21-game streak in 2015. Jew's current streak is the third-longest by a Gaucho in the Checketts era, trailing only Maris and Joey Epperson (24-game streak from 2013-14). Meanwhile, we've reached the point of the year where teams are hesitant to pitch to Austin Bush, as the big first baseman has now reached safely in 16 straight contests, with hits in six consecutive.

• Checketts on the Cusp of A Milestone
UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts enters the weekend needing just one victory to reach his 200th career win. Checketts will become the fourth Gaucho coach ever to reach that milestone, and he will narrowly miss being the quickest UCSB bench boss to accomplish the feat (Checketts enters the weekend with 331 career games as coach, Al Ferrer needed a UCSB-record 328 games to reach his 200th win).

• Dealing With Davis
Last year's series loss for UCSB at Dobbins Baseball Complex was a bit surprising, as the Gauchos have absolutely dominated UC Davis under the direction of Checketts. UCSB is 12-3 against the Aggies in the Checketts era, including a 5-1 mark at home, and had won six straight series against them before last year.

Shea Barry Fields Forever
Freshman right-hander Shea Barry has seen his work-load grow by a large amount over the past month since being moved to the closer's role, but the Simi Valley native has run with the opportunity. Having pitched in nine of the team's last 11 games, Barry enters the weekend sporting a 12 1/3 inning scoreless streak and is a key figure in the bullpen's recent turnaround. He has allowed just one earned run since Mar. 18, a span of 11 appearances and 15 innings.

• Pen Trending Up
Thanks to recent hot streaks from bullpen arms such as Barry, Kevin Chandler and Chris Lincoln (since moved to the rotation), UCSB has seen its team bullpen ERA drop to 3.79 on the season.The Gaucho pen was at its best from Apr. 15-28, allowing just three earned runs over seven games spanning 25 1/3 innings (1.07 ERA).

• Santa Barbara Sluggers
UCSB's offense looks like it has settled into a rhythm after a shaky start to the season (.225 team batting average in February), as the Gauchos now rank at or near the top of the Big West in a number of categories, including scoring (5.6 runs per game, first), slugging percentage (.414, first), and batting average (.278, second). Impressively, UCSB's lineup has been incredibly balanced, with eight lineup regulars hitting .280 or better and seven slugging .390 or better.

• 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 games 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.

• Swinging for the Fences
UCSB's BBCOR-era career home run leader, Austin Bush hit his 10th home run of 2017 and 24th of his career on Friday, putting him No. 10 on UCSB's all-time home run list. He is the first Gaucho with back-to-back 10-homer seasons since Tyler Von Schell (2000-01).