Baseball Heads To Las Vegas To Take Part In UNLV Tournament

Feb. 20, 2002

TWIGB (This Weekend In Gaucho Baseball)

* Friday February 22, 1:00 p.m. - vs. Michigan State at UNLV Tournament.
* Saturday February 23, Noon - vs. Creighton at UNLV Tournament.
* Sunday February 24, 3:00 p.m. - vs. UNLV at UNLV Tournament.

The Record

The Gauchos enter this weekends action with a 7-5 record. Over the weekend UCSB took two out of three games at home against San Jose State. On Tuesday the Gauchos lost to Cal State Northridge 9-7 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. As a team UCSB is batting .269 and the pitching staff has a 4.54 ERA.

Fresh Long Ballers

The Gauchos have looked to their freshmen to supply them with some power. Eight of the 13 home runs hit by the Gauchos have come from freshman. Second baseman Chris Malec leads the Gauchos with four homers and designated hitter Matt Wilkerson is second with three. Wilkerson and Malec hit back-to-back homers in Tuesdays loss to Cal State Northridge. Against San Jose State this last weekend, the Gauchos got game-winning home runs from Malec on Saturday and from another freshman, C.J. Cook, on Sunday.

Homegrown Talent

As was predicted before the season, the Gauchos leader offensively has been Ryan Spilborghs. The junior rightfielder from Santa Barbara leads the Gauchos in batting (.395), runs (16), hits (17), walks (11), and on-base percentage (.527). Spilborghs is a model of consistency, evidenced by his 35 game hitting streak in 2001, a school record. Currently, Spilly has hit safely in his last 10 games and 11 of 12 this year. Matt Vasquez, Spilborghs' High School teammate at Santa Barbara High, is also holding his own. Vasquez leads the Gaucho pitching staff in wins (2), starters ERA (3.24) and innings pitched (19.2). The 2001 Freshman All-American has given up just one earned run in his last two starts, logging 15 innings, winning both games.

Taking Advantage Of Opportunities

Despite their .269 team batting average, the Gauchos have made the most out of their scoring opportunites. With runners in scoring position, the Gauchos are batting a robust .331 (39-118). In 109 team hits (9.1 hpg) , the Gauchos have scored 88 (7.2 rpg) runs, as opposed to their opponents, who have scored only 66 (5.5) runs despite having 112 hits (9.3 hpg).

Road Warriors

The weekend trip could be a sucessful one for the Gauchos. So far this season, the Gauchos have shown more success on the road than at home, going 3-1 on away games while positng a 4-4 record at the confines of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

What About Bob?

Bob Brontsema returns for his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 223-213 (.511). Brontsema is coming off his best coaching season at UCSB guiding the Gauchos to a 40-17 record, good for the best single season winning percentage (.702) at UCSB since 1986. The 40 wins were the most by a UCSB team since 1990. For his efforts, Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Brontsema has posted three straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.

Viva Las Vegas !

This weekend the Gauchos will head down to Las Vegas to take part in the UNLV Tournament. UCSB will play three set games beginning Friday February 22. The Gauchos will take on Michigan State on Friday at 1:00 p.m., Creighton at Noon on Saturday and host UNLV on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. After the UNLV tourney the Gauchos will travel down to Los Angeles on Tuesday to take on UCLA. That game is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start time.

Probable Starters

1B * Josh McCanne * Batting .349 with five doubles and 14 RBI.
2B * Chris Malec * Leads team with 18 RBI, 4 HR and a triple.
SS * Dave Licht  * Batting .333 with eight runs scored in seven starts at Short.
3B * Nate Sutton * Went 2-for-3 with a run scored in last game.
LF * Kevin Miller/R.J. Smith  * Hotter bat will play.
CF * Andy Campanella  * Went 2-for-4 with a RBI in last game.
RF * Ryan Spilborghs * Leads team in batting (.395) and on-base percentage (.527).
C * Nic Rodriguez * Has started the last three games.
P * James Garcia (0-3, 7.45), James Dayley (1-0, 4.50) and Matt Vasquez (2-1, 3.20)

The Bottom Line: Hitting and Pitching Leaders (2002)

Spilborghs .395,McCanne .349,Licht .333, Sutherland 0.00, Thompson 1.12 and Miller 1.35