No. 4 Gauchos Clash with Cal Poly for Big West Title

Tommy Jew (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Tommy Jew (Photo by Tony Mastres)

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The Schedule
Thursday, May 23 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Friday, May 24 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, May 25 at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UCSB Gauchos (44-7, 18-3) vs. Cal Poly Mustangs (26-27, 15-6)
All-time record vs. the Mustangs: 93-76-1
2018 Series: Cal Poly Swept UCSB

Gauchos on the Air
UCSB Baseball will be available to stream all season long through BigWest.TV. The Voice of the Gauchos, Gerry Fall, will be on play-by-play alongside all-time winningest UCSB Baseball coach Bob Brontsema handling color. An additional audio only broadcast will be available with UCSB Assistant Director of Operations, Kevin Cannon on the call. 

Probable Pitchers
Thursday: LHP Jack Dashwood (9-1, 2.16 ERA) vs. RHP Bobby Ay (8-1, 3.56 ERA)
Friday: TBA
Saturday: TBA

Last Week in Review
The UC Santa Barbara baseball team tied its own program record with another 13-game winning streak. Doing so in dramatic fashion with a come-from-behind win in extra innings to pull off a sweep of the Rainbow Warriors in Hawai'i on Sunday. After taking care of Pepperdine 9-4 in its final midweek game of the year last Tuesday, UCSB rolled into Honolulu and outscored Hawai'i 25-6 in three games. In Friday's series opening 8-2 win, Ben Brecht delivered a quality start with seven strikeouts in six innings of one-run ball while Andrew Martinez highlighted the offense with his eighth home run of the year. Saturday saw another gem from Jack Dashwood, striking out eight in seven innings and allowing just one run on two hits. Eric Yang paced the offense with a 4-for-5 day in the 11-1 rout. In Sunday's finale, the Gauchos found themselves trailing by two and down to their final strike until Cole Muller hit a clutch, game-tying two-RBI single to force extra innings. In the 11th, senior Michael McAdoo hit a two-run single to secure the 6-3 win. 

Battle for the Big West
With already a share of the Big West crown guaranteed, No. 4 UCSB will look to claim the title outright and will have to go through rival Cal Poly to do so. Both Cal Poly and UC Irvine trail the Gauchos by three games in the standings, so Santa Barbara just needs one win to lock up its first Big West title since 1986 and third in program history. The Mustangs have swept UCSB in three straight seasons, so the Gauchos will look to break the trend at Caesar Uyesaka where they have won 19 straight and are 26-1 in 2019. Cal Poly is coming off a series win after taking two-out-of-three against UC Riverside and have sweeps over CSUN, UC Davis and Long Beach State. The Mustangs are led by sophomore infielder Tate Samuelson (.295 AVG, 4 HR, 37 RBI) and junior infielder Bradlee Beesley (.295 AVG, 1 HR, 35 RBI) while Thursday starter Bobby Ay leads the staff with an 8-1 record to go with a 3.56 ERA. 

For the Record
With 44 wins so far in 2019, the Gauchos set a program record for most wins against Division I opponents, surpassing the 43 wins set by the 2016 Gauchos. The most wins overall in single season history is 46, set in 1986. 

Poll Position
After another 4-0 week, Santa Barbara held steady in the majority of the major polls, with the exception of moving up two spots to No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The No. 4 ranking is the highest national ranking in UCSB program history, surpassing its previous high of No. 5, reached back in 1986, the last time the Gauchos won the Big West Conference Title. UCSB remained at No. 7 in Perfect Game, No. 11 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and NCBWA, No. 12 in Baseball America and No. 14 in D1baseball.com. 

Yang Named a Semifinalist for Catcher of the Year
Junior catcher Eric Yang was named as one of 14 semifinalists for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award on Friday by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Yang has enjoyed a breakout season for UCSB, currently leading the team with a .389 batting average to go along with seven home runs and 45 RBIs. The West Hills native has been excellent behind the dish as well, throwing out 34.5 percent (10-of-29) of would-be-base stealers while boasting a .995 fielding percentage. 

No Place Like Home
UCSB boasts an incredible 26-1 record this season at home and have dominated at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium under Andrew Checketts, crafting a .710 winning percentage (169-68-3) at home in the past eight seasons. Since its only loss at home, a 5-1 defeat at the hands of Cal Baptist, the Gauchos have won 19 straight at its .963 win percentage is the best in the nation. 

National Leaders
With a 44-7 record, the Gauchos own the best record in the country with a winning percentage of .863 and also rank first in the nation with 42 sacrifice flies. UCSB is among the nation's leaders in a handful of categories including ranking second in triples per game (.55), third in triples (28), fourth in WHIP (1.17), sixth in slugging percentage (.511), seventh in both ERA (3.28) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.03), eighth in walks allowed per nine innings (3.03), 12th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.48), 14th in doubles per game (2.22) and 18th in batting average (.304).  

Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 35-1 when hitting at least one home run in a game and just 9-6 when failing to hit one. Long ago the Gauchos surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34) and have hit 64 to date, ranking 24th in the nation. Thomas Rowan recently went on a tear to take over the team lead with 12 home runs while Tommy Jew and Armani Smith have each hit 11. Andrew Martinez has hit eight while Eric Yang has seven and 12 different Gauchos have hit at least one. 

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 27 appearances, and ranks second in the Big West with a 1.82 ERA. He has six saves to go along with 49 strikeouts in 54.1 innings. Lincoln, a starter last season, leads the conference and is seventh in the nation with 13 saves, and is just one away from tying the UCSB single-season record. 

Thank You Seniors!
Prior to Saturday's final home game of the regular season, the UC Santa Barbara baseball program will recognize, congratulate and thank six players that are set to graduate this June. Seniors Kevin Chandler, Michael McAdoo, Tevin Mitchell and Alex Patterson will be recognized along with redshirt junior Tommy Jew and Liam Steigerwald