Gauchos Look to Bounce Back, Host Dartmouth in Midweek Showdown

Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Wednesday, Mar. 14 at 3:00 p.m. PT vs. Dartmouth (2-4)
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Big Green: 5-0
Last meeting: UCSB outscores Dartmouth 27-3 over two home wins, Mar. 21-22, 2015 

Friday, Mar. 16 at 3:00 p.m. PT vs. Sacramento State (6-10)
Saturday, Mar. 17 at 2:00 p.m. PT vs. Sacramento State
Sunday, Mar. 18 at 1:00 p.m. PT vs. Sacramento State
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Hornets: 31-24-2
Record vs. Hornets under Checketts: 4-2
UCSB home record / Sac St. away record: 3-3-1 / 1-3
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Tied 1 / 4-5-1
Sac St. Streak / Last 10:  Won 1 / 4-6

• The Week Ahead
This week, UCSB continues a six-weekend homestand with a Wednesday matchup against Dartmouth and a three-game set against Sacramento State starting on Friday at 3:00 p.m. The Gauchos are in the midst of a span that sees them play 21 of 22 games at home, and the team will not leave the state of California for the remainder of the regular season. All four games this week will have live audio and video broadcasts available through 

• The Week in Review
UCSB went 0-2-1 last week in a three-game series against Texas State, dropping a 1-0 pitcher's duel on Friday before losing the opener and tying in the nightcap of a Sunday doubleheader. Saturday's scheduled contest was postponed a day due to rain. The Gauchos out-hit TXST 7-3 in Friday's series-opener, but stranded 10 runners on base. UCSB's clutch-hitting was an issue on Sunday as well as the team finished the series with a .138 batting average with runners in scoring position (4-29). 

• Ripping Through the Ivy
UCSB has an all-time record of 15-1 against opponents from the Ivy League, including a 5-0 mark against Dartmouth. The Gauchos' only loss in program history against an Ivy League foe was against Penn in the 1990 Regionals at Arizona State. 

• No Bull from the Bullpen
UCSB's bullpen collectively has done a nice job for the most part this season, combining for a 3.77 ERA over 59 2/3 innings (Gaucho starters have allowed 33 earned runs in 60 1/3 innings for a 4.92 ERA). The Gauchos have leaned heavily on the right-handed trio of Chris Lincoln (1.42 ERA, 12.2 IP), Alex Patterson (3.00 ERA, 11.2 IP), and Chris Troye (3.00 ERA, 9 IP) to eat up the majority of bullpen innings.  

• Looking Forward
Having played ranked teams in SDSU and Mississippi St. as well as teams with excellent win-loss records such as Fresno St. and Texas St., the Gauchos' road so far this year has been among the toughest in the country, with a combined .547 winning percentage that ranks in the top-100 nationally. However, things may lighten up the rest of the way, as the Gauchos' future opponents have just a .449 winning percentage.

• Take A Seat
While results have been up and down, UCSB has consistently done well in two inter-related areas: striking out opponents while limiting free passes. UCSB's 9.2 strikeouts per nine ratio leads the entire Big West – six Gaucho hurlers are currently striking out more than a batter per inning led by Ben Brecht's 15.43 K/9 ratio – while the team's 3.13 walks per nine ranks second in the league and among the top-50 nationally. 

• Steigerwald Draws the Start vs. Dartmouth
Sophomore righty Liam Steigerwald will make his first start of 2018 on Wednesday. He made one start last year (5 IP, 4 ER vs. Cal Poly on May 21) but was excellent out of the bullpen, posting a 1.42 ERA in 12 2/3 relief innings and starting his career with 7 1/3 inning scoreless streak. 

• Non-Conference, No Problem
UCSB has posted a 102-49 mark against non-league opponents since 2014 (.675 winning percentage). 

• Home Cooking
The Gauchos have fared extremely well at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium under Andrew Checketts, crafting a .681 winning percentage (124-58) at home, nearly 20% higher than their road winning percentage over that same span (.482). Heading into the weekend, UCSB is hitting .287 in home games (nearly 60 points higher than their opponents: .228) and has an ERA nearly a run lowers than visiting teams (3.45 to 4.26).