Gauchos Continue Big West Play on the Road at CSUN

Kyle Johnson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Kyle Johnson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Friday, May 3 at 3:00 p.m. at Matador Field
Saturday, May 4 at 1:00 p.m. at Matador Field
Sunday, May 5 at 1:00 p.m. at Matador Field
UCSB Gauchos (33-7, 9-3) vs. CSUN Matadors (19-23, 6-9)
All-time record vs. the Matadors: 83-62-3
2018 Series: CSUN won 2-of-3
Watch: BigWest.TV

Gauchos on the Air
UCSB Baseball will be available to stream all season long through BigWest.TV. In addition, Assistant Director of Baseball Operations Kevin Cannon, along with Max Kelton, will provide an audio only broadcast available on UCSBGauchos.com.

Probable Pitchers
LHP Ben Brecht (7-1, 3.97 ERA) vs. LHP Wesley Moore (4-3, 3.71 ERA)
LHP Jack Dashwood (6-1, 2.35 ERA) vs. LHP Isaiah Nunez (7-3, 2.28 ERA)
LHP Rodney Boone (6-0, 2.81 ERA) vs. RHP Blake Sodersten (1-2, 4.00 ERA)

Last Week in Review
The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara baseball team was stunned under the lights at UC Riverside last weekend, dropping its first series of the year after losing two-out-of-three to the Highlanders. UCR jumped on the Gauchos early with seven runs in the first three innings on Friday en route to a 9-4 win while snapping UCSB's 13-game winning streak. On Saturday, the Highlanders became the first team to take a series from the Gauchos with a 7-2 win, although UCSB bounced back to salvage a win on Sunday with a big 15-4 victory. UCR's Connor Cannon hit four home runs over the weekend to earn Big West Player of the Week honors. In Sunday's win, the Gauchos racked up 20 hits, with four apiece coming from McClain O'Connor and Andrew Martinez, while O'Connor hit his first career home run. In Tuesday's midweek contest against Cal State Bakersfield, the Gauchos found themselves trailing 4-1 heading into the eighth before a five-run rally and a Chris Lincoln save sealed the comeback win. 

It's Gonna Be May
UCSB enters the last month of the regular season with the second-best winning percentage in all of baseball, but after dropping two to UCR last weekend, find themselves one game behind Cal Poly in the Big West standings. The Gauchos are 9-3 in conference while the Mustangs are 10-2 with four series and 12 games remaining. UCSB and Cal Poly will face off in the final series of the season at Caesar Uyesaka while the Gauchos have remaining series at CSUN, home against last-place Long Beach State and at Hawai'i. 

Poll Position
Santa Barbara saw a slight dip across the board in the polls after its 2-2 week, but still rank as high as No. 8 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. UCSB comes in at No. 13 in the Baseball America, NCBWA, USA Today Coaches and the College Baseball Insider Composite Polls while falling to No. 18 in the D1Baseball Poll and No. 10 in the Perfect Game Poll. The highest ranking in UCSB history was No. 5 back in 1986, the last time the Gauchos won the Big West Conference Title. 

Big West Play Continues at CSUN
UCSB will look to get back on track in Big West play this weekend at CSUN coming off its first series loss of the season at UCR. The Gauchos are 12-6 away from Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this year while the Matadors are 15-8 at home. CSUN is 6-9 in conference thus far, coming off a series win against Hawai'i where they took two-of-three. The Matadors are led by Kyle Barret, hitting .333 with three home runs and 25 RBI while Sean Skelly is hitting .300 with a team-high six home runs and 16 RBI. As a team, CSUN ranks third in the Big West with 40 home runs and ranks fourth with 234 runs. On the mound, Saturday starter Isaiah Nunez leads the way with a 7-3 record and a 2.28 ERA. 

Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 27-1 when hitting at least one home run in a game and 6-6 when failing to hit one. The Gauchos have already surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34), with 44 thus far with 14 games still remaining. Tommy Jew and Armani Smith have been taking turns with the team lead all season, with Jew currenly in front with 10 while Smith has hit eight. Thomas Rowan is close behind with seven while Andrew Martinez has five and Eric Yang has four. 11 different Gauchos have hit at least one home run now after McClain O'Connor hit the first of his career on Sunday at UCR. 

The Starters
The trio of weekend starting pitchers for the Gauchos are a combined 19-2 with a 3.07 ERA, while the team ERA of 3.41 is tops in the Big West and 18th overall in the nation. Friday starter Ben Brecht leads the conference with 79 strikeouts to go along with his 7-1 record with a 3.97 ERA. Saturday starter Jack Dashwood has been dominant as a sophomore, boasting an ERA of 2.35 to go with his 6-1 mark and ranking second to Brecht with 64 strikeouts. Not to be outdone, freshman Rodney Boone has solidifed himself as the Sunday starter with a 6-0 record and 2.81 ERA. 

What a Relief
The UCSB bullpen has been lights out for much of the season due in large part to freshman Michael McGreevy and junior Chris Lincoln. Mcgreevy has a team-high 21 appearances, and leads the Big West with a 1.91 ERA. He has five saves to go along with 47 strikeouts in 47 innings. Lincoln, a starter last season, is tied for the conference lead with 11 saves, and is just three away from the UCSB single-season record. 

Leading the Nation
The Gauchos are among the nation's leaders in numerous statistical categories, including leading the country in sacrifice flies (34) while ranking second to UCLA in winning percentage (.825). UCSB also leads the nation in triples per game (.63) while ranking third in triples (25), seventh in strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.13), eighth in both slugging percentage (.493) and WHIP (1.17) and 11th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.97). Individually, Armani Smith ranks second in the nation with seven triples while Chris Lincoln's 11 saves are good for seventh best in the country. 

Series Openers
After starting the season 11-0 in series openers, the Gauchos fell for the first time in an opener last Friday at UC Riverside. UCSB will look to Ben Brecht to get back on track this Friday at CSUN. Brecht has starterd 11 of the 12 openers for UCSB and will start his 12th game of the year on Friday.