Off to a 2-1 Start, UCSB Hits the Road To Battle San Jose State

Off to a 2-1 Start, UCSB Hits the Road To Battle San Jose State

Feb. 10, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Schedule
Games No. 4-6
Friday, February 11, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, February 12, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, February 13, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)

Gauchos Take Opening Series Versus Waves
Thanks to a stellar Sunday effort from starting pitcher sophomore Andy Graham and the red-hot bats of senior Matt Wilkerson and junior Bill Rowe, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team recorded a season-opening series victory over 29th-ranked Pepperdine last weekend. Despite a season-opening day loss 8-4, UCSB came back to take the final two games 12-9 (11) in Malibu and 12-2 at Caesar Uyesaka. On Friday, Feb. 4 in the Gauchos' home-opener, junior right-hander Steve Morlock was roughed up for eight runs off nine hits in just five innings of work. Despite two hits apiece by seniors Chris Malec and David Figoni, the Gauchos were never able to recover against Waves starter Kea Kometani and reliever Paul Coleman. Out of the bullpen, sophomore relievers Brian Tracy and Justin Segal combined to throw four scoreless innings in the loss. On Saturday, despite giving up a four-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, the Gauchos went on to beat the Waves in extras. UCSB bats bailed out starter Michael Martin who gave up five runs in four and two-thirds innings pitched. Wilkerson went 2-for-4, driving in three runs and senior Matt Sevens blasted his first home run of the season. In the rubber match, Gaucho starting pitcher Graham threw five effective innings allowing only one run and striking out four. Once again the UCSB offensive attack was lead by Rowe and Wilkerson. Rowe went 4-for-5 with four RBI and Wilkerson belted his 30th career home run in the winning effort.

On The Mound This Week
Although pitchers Steve Morlock and Michael Martin both struggled in their first starts of the season, Gaucho head coach Bob Brontsema is expected to use the same rotation that he used last weekend against Pepperdine this weekend versus San Jose State. That means Morlock (0-1) is slated to open up on Friday against the Spartans. On Saturday Martin (0-0) will get the nod and finishing up series on the hill will be Andy Graham (1-0)

Now That's What I Call Relief
Perhaps what pitching coach Tom Myers is most excited about this young season is the performance of the Gaucho bullpen in the opening series. Against Pepperdine, UCSB relievers posted a 1.89 ERA, allowing just three earned runs in 14 and two-thirds innings pitched. Sophomore Justin Segal has baffled batters, giving up no runs and only three hits in over four innings pitched. 2004 Big West Honorable Mention recipient Alex McRobbie looked solid once again on the mound for the Gauchos. The junior picked up his first save this season, pitching UCSB out of a jam to win its first game of the season. McRobbie struck out the game's final two batters with the bases loaded and the Gauchos only up three runs.

The Brontsema File
2005 marks the 24th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 12th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema currently owns a record of 298-291. He has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1996 when he guided the Gauchos to a 32-20 record and an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament, and in 2001, when he led the team to a 40-17 mark and another NCAA tourney berth. The .701 winning percentage in 2001 was the best in school history. In 2004, Brontsema's Gauchos posted the second-most overall wins in his career as head coach, going 33-21. Milestone dates in Brontsema's coaching career include win no. 100 in 1997, win no. 200 in 2001, and with UCSB's fourth win this season Brontsema will become the third coach in school history to record 300 career victories.

Probable Gauchos Starters
C - Matt Kalafatis - Three RBI in Saturday's 12-9 win
1B - Bill Rowe -Drove in four in Sunday's 12-2 victory
2B - Chris Malec -Leads team with six runs scored
SS - Chris Valaika - Batting .400 in last two games
3B - David Figoni - 2-for-4 on opening day
LF - Matt Stevens - Hit first home run of 2005 on Saturday
CF - Matt Emerick -3-for-4, two RBI in Sundays 12-2 win
RF - Matt Wilkerson - Leads the team with eight RBI
DH - C.J. Cook - 2-for-6 after first three games

Possible Starting Pitchers
Friday - Steve Morlock- RHP - Jr. - (0-1), five innings pitched
Saturday - Michael Martin - RHP - Jr. - (0-0), 4 2/3 innings pitched, seven K's
Sunday - Andy Graham - RHP - So. - (1-0), 1.80 ERA, five innings piched, four K's

When You're Hot, You're Hot!
Three Gaucho starters have begun the season with blazing bats. Through the first three games senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson is batting .500 (6-12) with a team leading one home run, eight RBI and 11 total bases. Junior first baseman Bill Rowe is almost as scorching, going 6-14 (.429) with one double and seven RBI. Senior second baseman Chris Malec is showing the most patience at the plate, hitting .444 (4-9) and leading the team with six walks. The Orange County native also leads the team in runs scored (6).

Gaucho Reserves Step to the Plate In Record Fashion
Head coach Bob Brontsema broke the school record in consecutive pinch hitters sent to the batters box in Sunday's 12-2 over Pepperdine. Over the course of the sixth and seventh innings, Brontsema sent six consecutive pinch hitters to the plate.

Scouting the Spartans
Entering Friday's match-up, San Jose State holds a 2-1 record, taking two out of three games last weekend against Cal Poly. First baseman Brandon Fromm leads the Spartans with a .467 batting average (7-for-15), five runs scored, two doubles and four RBI. Center fielder Travis Becktel has a team leading one home run and six RBI. On the mound, the Spartan starters struggled opening weekend but were picked up by their bullpen. Relief pitcher Shane Brechmann threw four shutout innings, tallying the save helping San Jose State notch its first win of the season. In the third game of the series, reliever Brandon Hennessy allowed only one run in five innings pitched. Brad Kilby also shut down Cal Poly hurling three innings of shut out ball to pick up the save in Sunday's 13-6 win.

Series Record
San Jose State leads the all-time series between the two schools 40-32. Most recently, the Spartans took two of three games from the Gauchos in 2004 at Caesar Uyesaka.