Off to Its Best Start Since 1996, UCSB Hosts Oregon State in Three-Game Set
Games No. 12, 13, 14 Oregon State University
Friday, February 25, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, February 26, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, February 27, 2005 at 1:05 p.m. (PST)
Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Since dropping its season opener to Pepperdine, UCSB has won seven of its last nine games. So far the Gauchos have won all three three-game sets and before dropping their last game at Fresno State, the Gauchos were riding a four-game win streak.
A Look AT Last Week
UC Santa Barbara won its third straight series of the season, taking two out of three games this past weekend on the road against Fresno State. In Friday's game one, junior starting pitcher Steve Morlock notched his first win of the 2005 campaign by allowing only two runs on two hits in six innings of work. He also had a no-hitter through five innings. First baseman Bill Rowe tallied three RBI with his bases clearing double in the first inning. Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson drove in what proved to be the game winning RBI in the second inning. Reliever Alex McRobbie saved his second game by holding the Bulldogs off for the final one and two-thirds innings. In the Gauchos 5-3 win in game two, junior starter Michael Martin returned to his 2004 self by picking up his first win in a complete game. The right-hander allowed only three runs on six hits. He showed effective command of his pitches and only gave up one free pass the entire game. Seniors Chris Malec and Wilkerson came up clutch in the Gauchos' seventh win. The Orange County, Calif., natives each amassed two RBI. Going for its first series sweep of 2005 on Sunday, UCSB gave the ball to two-game winner Andy Graham. The sophomore was pulled with the game even at four after giving up a game-tying homerun to begin the sixth inning. The right-hander pitched 5.1 innings allowing three earn runs off five hits. Relief pitcher Loren Fraser entered the game for Graham and promptly gave up a walk and single. The senior would then balk in what ended up being the Bulldogs' winning run. In the losing effort, Wilkerson went 3-for-5 with one RBI. For the three-game set, Wilkerson batted .357 and inked five RBI.
Rain Rain Go Away!
Tuesday's game against USC initially postponed to Wednesday was officially called off due to heavy rainfall. The game is rescheduled for April 13 at 2:00 p.m. The Gauchos and the Trojans are also scheduled to face each other on April 19 in Los Angeles.
If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix
Gaucho skipper Bob Brontsema is expected to go with the same weekend rotation he has been using so far this season. In the nine games started by the current rotation of Steve Morlock, Michael Martin and Andy Graham the Gauchos are 6-3 and have won each series. Thus, fresh off his first win of the season, Oarlock (1-1) will on the hill Friday t o open up the series against Oregon State. On Saturday, Martin (1-1) will attempt to toss his second straight complete game and in the series finale Graham (2-1) will be looking for his third win of the season.
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. With a 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Sunday February 13, Brontsema became the third coach in school history to collect career victory no .300. The Gaucho skipper currently owns a record of 303-293. 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 win no. 300 in 2005.
Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Matt Kalafatis - Has made all ten starts at catcher.
1B - Bill Rowe - Picked-up three RBI in Friday's 7-5 win.
2B - Chris Malec - Hit .308 and drove in three vs. FSU.
SS - Chris Valaika - Leads the team with four doubles.
3B - David Figoni - Leads the team with 12 runs scored.
LF - Matt Stevens - Tied for team lead with two stole bases.
CF - Matt Emerick - Leads the team with .359 batting avg.
RF - Matt Wilkerson - Leads the team with 15 RBI.
DH - C.J. Cook - Started eight of ten games for UCSB.
Possible Weekend Pitchers
Friday - Steve Morlock - junior - RHP - (1-1), 17 innings pitched
Saturday - Michael Martin - junior - RHP - (1-1), 19.2 innings pitched, 13 K's
Sunday - Andy Graham - sophomore - RHP - (2-1), 2.60 ERA, 17.1 innings pitched, nine K's
Big West Player Of The Week Honors
Right fielder Matt Wilkerson was named Big West Player of the Week after helping the Gauchos improve to 7-3 with a series win on the road against Fresno State. The senior had two RBI in each of UCSB's first two wins, including the game winning RBI single in the first game. The Santa Margarita High graduate went 3-for-5 with one RBI in Sunday's 5-4 loss. Wilkerson also leads the Big West Conference in multiple RBI games with five.
Off To The Races
UCSB's 7-3 start marks the best ten game start since the Gauchos began 8-2 in the 1996 season. In 1996 the Gauchos finished with an overall record of 32-20 and received an at-large berth in the NCAA Tournament. The last time UCSB made the NCAA Tourney was in 2001 when the team finished the year 40-17 and posted a .701 winning percentage. The 2001 squad began the season 6-4.
Entering Friday's match-up, Oregon State holds a 6-1 record, winning two straight games last weekend against San Diego and UC Davis before getting rained out at the San Diego Tournament. The Beavers lone loss this season came in a 3-1 affair against Gonzaga. OSU is led by center fielder Jacoby Ellsbury and designated hitter Mike Lissman. Ellsbury is currently hitting .500 and has a team-high 15 hits. The clean-up batter Lissman leads the team with nine doubles, 14 RBI and 22 total bases. On the mound the Beavers are very impressive. Ace Jonah Nickerson is 1-0 and has yet to allow a run cross the plate in 9.0 innings of work. Dallas Buck (1-0) is almost as impossible to hit posting a 0.90 ERA and tallying a team high 18 strikeouts.
The all-time series record between UCSB and OSU is tied at eight wins for each side. Most recently, the Beavers took two of three games from the Gauchos in 2003 in Corvallis, Oregon.
We're Going Streaking!
Three Gauchos have current hitting streaks entering Friday's game with Oregon State. Second baseman Chris Malec currently has a four-game hitting streak that includes two multi-hit games. Third baseman David Figoni has hit safely in the Gauchos last five games and right fielder Matt Wilkerson has a team high six-game hitting streaking dating back to Feb. 12 at San Jose State.
Its Better To Receive Than To Give
Through the first ten games played this season, Gaucho batters have been given a free pass to first base 53 times while the UCSB pitching staff has walked only 27 batters.
Drop It Like Its Hot
UCSB pitching coach Tom Myers has to be smiling over the progress that his hurlers have made to this point in season. So far the team ERA has dropped at least one-point in each series and through the first seven games of the season, team ERA sank in every game. After the season opener, team ERA was 8.00 but by the end of thee games, Gaucho pitchers dropped it to 5.28. By the end of its series with Fresno State, the team ERA fell to 4.19. Entering Friday's game, Myers has the team ERA down to 3.87 for the season.
W Is For Home Run
This season the Gauchos are to 5-0 when hitting a round-tripper in a game this season.
A Series Of Fortunate Events
For the first time since the 2003, UCSB has won three consecutive three-game series'. In 2003 the Gauchos won three straight three-game sets by defeating Santa Clara, Sacramento State and Loyola Marymont.
Surfing The Net
For updated information concerning UCSB athletics on the World Wide Web, please book mark the following address: http://www.ucsbgauchos.com