March 5, 2003

Baseball Opens Four-Game Road Week

March 5, 2003

Santa Barbara, Calif. - The Schedule
Game No. 18, 19, 20, 21
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Westmont Warriors in Montecito, Calif.
Wednesday, March 5, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)

UC Santa Barbara Gauchos at Loyola Marymount Lions
in Los Angeles, Calif.
Friday, March 7, 2003 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, March 8, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, March 9, 2003 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)

A Look at Last Weekend
UCSB dropped the series opener against Sacramento State, but rebounded to win the next two games, winning their second consecutive series. The Gauchos recorded eight hits, but stranded 12 base runners in the loss to Sacramento State on Friday, 4-1. Starting pitcher Sean Thompson pitched 6.1 strong innings and allowed only two in runs in reception to the loss. Hornet starter Marshall Plouffe earned the win for the Hornets, going 7.1 innings and striking out five. UC Santa Barbara defeated the Hornets on Saturday, 4-3. UCSB scored three runs in he last two innings, including the go ahead RBI single in the eighth inning by outfielder Matt Wilkerson. Freshman closer Steve Morlock pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his second save of the season. Ivan Ramirez earned the victory for the Gauchos after pitching two strong innings of relief. UCSB used five first inning runs in the rubber game of the series as they defeated Sacramento State on Sunday, 11-1. Starter Matt Vasquez earned the victory for the Gauchos. Offensively, UCSB was led by outfielder Brian Adams. Adams went 2-for-3, including a double, a home run and five RBI.

Who's Hot
Second Baseman Matt Stevens is swinging a hot stick as of late for the Gauchos. Stevens replaces the injured freshman All-American Chris Malec at second and is making sure the Gaucho lineup is not missing a beat. After becoming a regular in coach Brontsema's lineup, Stevens has increased his batting average to a now team high .439 clip and also is leading the team with a .634 slugging percentage. Last week, Stevens was on fire going 8-for-11 in the three game series against Sacramento State. The sophomore was retired only once the first two games of the series going, 5-for-6 at the plate with an RBI and a runs scored. Stevens most productive game of the series came on Sunday, when he went 3-for-5 with a double and two runs scored.

Staying With What Works
Two weeks ago against Santa Clara, UCSB shuffled their starting rotation, moving lefty Sean Thompson to Friday, sophomore Eric Posthumus to Saturday, and junior Matt Vasquez to Sunday. After taking the series, the Gaucho coaching staff decided to keep the same rotation against Sacramento State last week. In taking the series from Sacramento State, their second in as many weeks, the Gauchos plan to do the same entering this weeks three-game road series at Loyola Marymount. Thompson gets the start on Friday and comes off a strong performance against the Hornets after going 6.1 innings and allowing only two earned runs. The southpaw makes his sixth start of the season.

Nice Shootin' Tex
Junior catcher Chad Ziemendorf showed off his arm last weekend against Sacramento State. Ziemendorf made it look easy gunning down two Hornets on Saturday. This season the junior has thrown out 7-of-18 potential base stealers, good enough for 39 percent.

Gaucho Bullpen
The Gaucho starters have received a lot help from their bullpen. In fact, the UCSB bullpen is lights out when coming into the game with a lead. Lefty Ivan Ramirez (2-0), Michael Martin (1-0), and Steve Morlock (2-2) are the core of the UCSB bullpen. The crafty Ramirez has been solid all season and holds a 1.80 ERA in nine appearances this season. Martin, the Gauchos mid-week starter could see time out of the pen this weekend. The freshman sports a 3.60 ERA and has struck out ten batters in as many innings. Morlock, also a freshman is providing solid relief for the Gauchos from the closer spot in the rotation.

Open and Close
Steve Morlock (2-2) is solidifying his role as UCSB's closer. He picked up his first save of the season against UCLA. Also, in the rubber game against Santa Clara a week ago, Morlock pitched three scoreless innings, earning his first second win of the season. Morlock picked up his second save of 2002 against Sacramento State on Saturday. Morlock has pitched 13.1 innings this season, striking out 14 batters. Currently, the freshman is holding opposing hitters to a microscopic .173 average.

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 Warriors
Westmont comes off a sub-par 2002 season, after going 7-34-1. Head coach Warren Dickey leads a young Warrior squad into the 2003 season, a squad with only two seniors. This season, the Warriors have got off to a slow start with an overall record of 3-11, and winless in conference play. At the plate the warriors are led by infielder Scott Knox and pitcher/catcher Andy Bouman. Knox carries a .328 average for Westmont and leads the team in hits (19), RBI (19) and doubles (4). Bouman has provided the power this season with a even .500 slugging percentage and team leading four home runs. Despite these two offensive machines, Westmont is being outscored by its opponents this season, 77 to 131, and only hold a team batting average of .276. The Westmont staff has also struggled this season. Opposing batters are batting .330 off Warrior pitching and they carry a league high 8.15 team ERA.

Scouting the Lions
In 2002, the Lions of Loyola Marymount finished with an overall record of 23-34. Sixth year head coach Frank Cruz leads a more talented group of athletes into the 2003 season. LMU is off to an 8-5 start and hold a nearly perfect home record of 6-1. LMU is batting .307 as a team and has a high powered offense that is outscoring their opponents, 83-76. Their offense is led by Josh Whitesell and Carl Stoeber. Whitesell holds a .371 average this season and leads the team in three offensive categories, slugging (.714), doubles (6), and home runs (2). Stoeber carries a .362 clip this season and is second on the team with 17 hits. Stoeber also leads the Lions with 13 RBI and 26 total bases.

The LMU Staff
On the mound the Lions have accumulated a 5.18 ERA this season. Despite this relatively high team ERA, LMU's starting rotation has been solid all year long. Justin Abreu (1-1) leads the team with a 2.96 ERA in his four starts this season. Josh Muecke (1-0) carries a 3.20 ERA and has recorded 24 strikeouts in 2003. Rounding out the starting rotation is Vince Cordova (2-0), he sports a 3.24 ERA. In relief the Lions are led by Jeff Stevens (2-0). Stevens has appeared in six games for LMU, striking out 14 batters in just 7.2 innings of work.