Gauchos Hit the Road for Next Six Big West Games

Thomas Rowan (photo by Tony Mastres)
Thomas Rowan (photo by Tony Mastres)

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• The Schedule
Friday-Sunday May 11-13 at 3 p.m., 2 p.m., 1 p.m.
UCSB Gauchos vs. Long Beach State Dirtbags
at Blair Field - Long Beach, Calif.
All-time record vs. the Dirtbags: 81-91
The last meeting: April 2, 2017 - LBSU 5, UCSB 2

• Probable Starters

Fri RHP Stevie Ledesma (6-2, 2.16)...CG shutout vs. CSUN (12-0) was 1st by UCSB pitcher since 2016.
Sat RHP Chris Lincoln (2-2, 2.35)...Went 4 IP vs. CSUN, 1st time in 7 starts he didn't go at least 5.2 IP.
Sun. RHP Chris Clements (1-1, 4.25)...6.1 IP vs. CSUN, longest outing of year...6 H, 32 ER, 4 K, 0 BB.

• The Gauchos' Record
UCSB enters its weekend series against Long Beach State with an overall record of 22-22-1 and a Big West Conference mark of 7-8. The Gauchos have dropped their last two games and three of their last four, but it kind of feels as though they've lost three straight and four of five. After losing two of three to CSUN last weekend, Santa Barbara lost a continuation of a Mar. 27 game against Pepperdine that was suspended after 10 innings tied at 3-3 because of darkness. The Waves won that one on a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th, 5-3, and then they won the regularly scheduled game, 3-1.

• Ledesma's Shutout Was First in a While
Senior right hander Stevie Ledesma continued his run as a starter with the best effort of his career. On May 5, Ledesma needed just 96 pitches to throw a complete game shutout against CSUN, one of the best offensive teams in the Big West Conference. The transfer from Santa Barbara City College allowed a mere six hits, struck out seven (all of them after the second inning), and he didn't walk a batter for the first time in his eight starting assignments. The win improved Ledesma's record as a starter to 6-2 and he lowered his overall ERA to 2.16, including 1.54 as a starter and 0.79 in his lat three starts. In fact, if you remove his one subpar start – 4.2 IP, 4 ER on April 15 at UC Irvine – he is 6-1 with 47.2 innings and five earned runs allowed for a stellar ERA of 0.94. Finally, Ledesma's complete game shutout was the first by a UCSB pitcher since Shane Bieber hurled a one-hitter against CSUN on April 15, 2016. Bieber is now in triple-A with in the Cleveland Indians organization and ranked as their No. 7 prospect.

• A Series of Unfortunate Events
In losing two out of three games to CSUN last weekend, the Gauchos had their streak of four consecutive series wins ended. They have now won five of eight home series this season. Overall, UCSB is now 17-11-1 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, where they will play five more times in 2018.  Santa Barbara is 4-10 in road games this season and will be trying to win its first road series of the season at Long Beach State this weekend

• The Kids are OK
The 2018 Gaucho roster is one of the youngest in school history. UCSB has 15 freshmen and eight sophomores, a total of 23 underclassmen, on a roster of 32 players, 71.9%. Among field players, freshmen and sophomores have made 259 of 405 starts, 64.0%, and among pitchers, they have made 28 of the 45 starts, 62.2%, and 94 of 167 total appearances, 56.3%.

• Jew Stands Alone in Center Field
Sophomore Tommy Jew is the only Gaucho player to start all 45 games in 2018. Clay Fisher is the only other player to make at least 40 starts and he has started 42 times at DH, shortstop and second base. Jew, in fact, is the only UCSB player to start in center field this season. He's manned the position in all 45 of his starts. The catcher position has had two starters (Eric Yang and Thomas Rowan), but every other position, including DH, has had at least three different players start. Finally, there have been six different starting second basemen, five different left fielders and four different shortstops and third basemen.

• Bonus Baseball
After playing just one extra inning game over the first 37 games this season, UCSB has played three in the last seven. Ironically, the one extra inning affair that the Gauchos had over the first 37 contests was on Mar. 27 at Pepperdine and that game was suspended after 10 innings and actually finished on May 8 prior to the regularly scheduled game between the schools.