Baseball Travels To San Jose For Three-Game Series With The Spartans

Feb. 12, 2003

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Schedule
Game No. 8, 9, 10
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. San Jose State Spartans at San Jose, Calif.
Friday, February 14, 2003 at 2:30 p.m. (PST)
Matt Vasquez (1-0) vs. Matt Durkin (1-0)

Saturday, February 15, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sean Thompson (0-1) vs. Mike Dorsa (0-0)

Sunday, February 16, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Eric Posthumus (0-1) vs. TBA

A Look Back at the Weekend
The Gauchos opened Pepperdine's Battle of the Beach tournament with an extra inning victory over Houston, but dropped their last two games against Pac-10 powerhouse Washington and host Pepperdine. UCSB went twelve innings against Houston and received a shutdown performance from their bullpen to pick up their second victory of the season. The Gauchos squandered ninth inning leads on Saturday and Sunday ending the tournament with a record of 1-2. The recent let down by a UCSB bullpen that has shutdown opponents all season long, hopes to turn that around this weekend when they face San Jose State.

On the Virge
Matt Vasquez started the season on a positive note. The right hander has been fearless on the mound going after opposing batters with his fastball. Vasquez's ability to hit his spots has left him with a microscopic 1.42 ERA. Opposing hitters can only muster a .191 average against the Santa Barbara native. Vasquez picked up his first win of the season going six innings and allowing just one run against San Diego State. He matched his performance in his second start allowing one run in six and two-third innings versus No. 11 Houston. The Gaucho ace will look to continue his early season dominance against San Jose State this Friday. Vasquez will square off with another ace, San Jose State's Matt Durkin.

Picking up where he left off
Right handed pitcher Eric Posthumus had the ideal freshman year. He finished with a 6-1 record, struck out 48 batters and recorded one complete game. Posthumus also earned Freshman All-American honors, on top of his impressive numbers. This season the Gaucho starter has picked up where he left off. In his first two starts of the year, he has accumulated an impressive 2.31 ERA and is holding opposing batters to a .209 batting average. Posthumus has been in command during the 11.2 innings he's pitched this year, walking only one batter. The sophomore also leads the Gaucho pitching staff in strikeouts with 11. Overall, Posthumus provides the UCSB pitching staff with a dominant force on the mound.

#1 Stunner
Ivan Ramirez sports the Gaucho uniform with the number one stitched on the back. The concept of being number one fits the southpaw perfect. Ramirez has been the number one guy out of the bullpen for UCSB, appearing in five games. Pitching coach Dan Ricabal has confidence in Ramirez to pitch in pressure situations. The pressure has not bothered him either, as Ramirez has put up solid numbers. The Gaucho pitcher is holding opposing hitters to a .111 average and has an ERA of 1.08. Ramirez picked up his first win as a Gaucho against No.11 Houston with three and one-third innings of no hit relief.

Who's Hot?
Matt Wilkerson has been swinging a hot bat. Before Sunday's game against the Pepperdine Waves, Wilkerson was four for his last ten including two runs and three RBI. The outfielder also hit his first home run of the season against Washington on Saturday. The two-run blast is a small reminder of what he accomplished last year. In his Freshman All-American campaign, Wilkerson broke Phil Nevin's Big West Conference freshman home run record with 16.

The Brontsema File
Bob Brontsema enters his 10th season as head coach of the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. It was just two seasons ago that Brontsema logged his 200th victory, becoming the third coach in school history to do so. He enters this season with a career mark of 238-241. Brontsema's team ended the 2002 season 22-33 overall and 8-16 in Big West Conference play. Brontsema's has been selected twice as Big West Coach of the Year. In 2001, his team finished with a mark of 40-17, good for a .701 winning percentage, the highest in school history. Brontsema's 2001squad also had 10 players sign professional contracts after the season. Brontsema was also selected as Big West Coach of the Year in 1996, when he piloted UCSB to a 32-20 overall mark and 14-7 showing in conference play. 1996 also marked UCSB's return to NCAA Regional play for the first time since 1990. During the 1996 season, the Gauchos notched two wins at Cal State Fullerton and beat both USC and UCLA once.

Scouting the Spartans
SJSU holds a record of 2-2 this season. They won two-of-three games against Cal Poly, but were defeated by Cal on Tuesday, 4-3. The Spartans are coming off an impressive 2002 season. San Jose State posted an overall record of 45-17 and league record of 21-9, good enough for second in the Western Athletic Conference. They are led by head coach Sam Piraro, who holds a career record of 493-369-4 at San Jose State. SJSU brings a potent offense to 2003. The Spartans are batting .329 as a team in their first four games this season. Infielder Anthony Contreras and catcher Nick Guerra lead their offensive attack. Contreras leads the Spartans with a .583 average, adding three runs and three RBI. Guerra sports a .571 average and leads the team in total bases (11), and RBI (4). The Spartan catcher has also notched a double, a triple and scored three runs. The Spartans also show strength on the mound. They are led by a pair of right handers in Matt Durkin and Matt Dorsa. Durkin has already been named WAC Pitcher of the Week this season as he struck out 10 in six innings versus Cal Poly in his first start of the year. This season Dorsa has seen four innings and allowed two runs.

Series History
The Spartans lead the Gauchos, 30-27 in head-to-head competition. The two teams last met in a three-game series at the start of the 2002 season. UCSB lost the first game in a pitcher's dual, 2-1, but rallied to win the next two games to take the series.