UCSB Does Battle With No. 14 Cal State Fullerton on National TV

JJ Muno (photo by Eric Isaacs)
JJ Muno (photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Friday, May 12 at 6:00 p.m. vs. No. 14 Cal State Fullerton (29-16, 10-5)
Saturday, May 13 at 7:00 p.m. vs. No. 14 Cal State Fullerton
Sunday, May 14 at 1:00 p.m. vs. No. 14 Cal State Fullerton
at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Titans: 41-106
Record vs. CSF in Checketts era: 6-9
UCSB away record / CSF home record: 5-14 / 18-4
2016 series: CSF wins 2 of 3 at UCSB, May 13-15
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Lost 3 / 4-6
CSF Streak / Last 10:  Won 2 / 6-4
UCSB / CSF RPI: 139 / 33 (as of May 10)

• Gauchos to Appear on National TV
The first two games of this weekend's series against Cal State Fullerton will be aired on national and regional TV networks, with the Friday opener appearing on ESPNU (also available online through ESPN3) and the Saturday contest appearing on FOX Sports Prime Ticket (available online through FOX Sports Go). The Friday game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. start while Saturday is slated for a 7:00 first pitch. Meanwhile, UCSBGauchos.com will carry live audio broadcasts of all three games, with Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall on the call alongside color commentator Kevin Cannon. Links to all broadcasts be found on gameday through the UCSB baseball schedule page

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: LHP Kyle Nelson (6-3, 4.24 ERA) vs. RHP Connor Seabold (7-4, 2.81 ERA)
Saturday: RHP Noah Davis (6-3, 4.57 ERA) vs. LHP John Gavin (5-2, 3.33 ERA)
Sunday: TBA vs. TBA

• The Week in Review
UCSB went 1-3 last week, losing two of three at home to UC Davis before falling 15-5 in a Tuesday matchup at St. Mary's. Kyle Nelson turned in a complete game gem to lead the Gauchos over the Aggies  in the series opener, but UCD answered back by sweeping both games in a Saturday doubleheader scheduled due to impending rain on Sunday. The Gauchos stayed close with SMC through the first seven and a half innings on Tuesday, but the Gaels pulled away with a nine-run eighth to claim the win.

• Checketts Lands Milestone 200th Win
With last Friday's victory, UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts recorded the 200th win of his career, becoming the fourth Gaucho ever to reach that milestone. The sixth year bench boss is the second quickest coach to reach 200 wins at UCSB after Al Ferrer.

• Clashing With the Titans
This weekend UCSB will try and take its first series at Goodwin Field in the Checketts era, with the Gauchos dropping two of three in their last two trips to the Titans' home field. UCSB has one series win overall against CSF under Checketts, coming back in 2014. The program's last series win at Goodwin was in 2007.

• Uncharted Territory
UCSB will be playing its first games against a ranked opponent over the weekend, though three prior opponents (Kentucky, Long Beach State, LMU) have entered the polls since playing the Gauchos. UCSB was 11-10-1 against ranked opponents last year. Fullerton enters the weekend ranked as high as No. 14.

• Davis Returns
Normal Friday starter Noah Davis is projected to return this weekend after missing his last two starts with shoulder stiffness. He was riding a hot streak prior to his injury, allowing just three earned runs combined overr 15 2/3 innings against UC Irvine and San Diego State. The sophomore right-hander is the only pitcher in school history to win a College World Series game and UCSB is 17-8 all-time in his starts.

• Shea It Ain't So
Tuesday's rough outing at St. Mary's College belies what has been a breakout freshman campaign for UCSB closer Shea Barry, who entered that midweek contest with a 13 2/3 inning scoreless streak. Throwing out his latest appearance, he has a 1.13 ERA and three saves in 12 outings since Mar. 19.

• In A Grove
Landing on the shelf for 10 games after suffering an injury on Opening Day, UCSB catcher Dempsey Grover is really rounding into form down the stretch, as the redshirt junior has a team-high seven game hitting streak. That streak would actually be longer were it not for a pinch-hit appearance on Apr. 25, as Grover has hits in 13 consecutive starts.

• Bush-els of Home Runs
UCSB's career home-run leader in the BBCOR era with 25, junior first baseman Austin Bush keeps adding to his prodigious power resume every week. He has homered against six of UCSB's last eight opponents, and his solo shot against SMC on Tuesday matched his single-season career-high of 11. He is the first Gaucho since Tyler Von Schell in 2000-01 to notch double-digit home runs in back-to-back seasons and just the fourth in program history to hit 11 in consecutive years (most recent: Jeff Bannon, 1999-2000).

• Lineup Doing Its Part
After starting off the season slow, UCSB's offense has turned into a point of strength, as the Gauchos now rank at or near the top of the league in important stats such as slugging percentage (.412, first), scoring (5.4 runs per game, T-1st), and batting average (.275, second).

• On the Upswing
UCSB is coming off the two most historic seasons in program history., going to the College World Series last year and winning a team-record 43 games against D-I opponents. In 2015, UCSB was a No. 1 seed and regional host while a program-record 10 players were drafted, including No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate.