March 5, 2010
Following an important early-season three-game series at Stanford this weekend, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team will host Japan's Waseda University in an exhibition game on Monday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium at 2 p.m.
While the in-season exhibition game is rare, although not unprecedented, the two teams will do something unprecedented in UCSB baseball history. Both teams will use wood bats in the game.
UCSB has not used wood bats in a game since the NCAA made the move to metal bats. UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema, who has been involved with UCSB baseball since his playing days in 1982, said the team is looking forward to the switch.
"It's an exciting thing and will certainly change the game quite a bit," Brontsema said. "I think the players are anxious to do it and it will be fun to see the game played that way."
Waseda University, which is located less than four miles outside of downtown Tokyo, is playing exhibition games against several California schools this month. Brontsema and the Gauchos jumped at the chance to play the Japanese team.
"When the opportunity pops up and we have an opening in the schedule, we certainly like to do something like this," Brontsema said.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.
UCSB last hosted an exhibition game against an out-of-country team when it hosted the University of British Columbia on Feb. 16, 2006 and last hosted a Japanese team when the Gauchos faced Keio University on Mar. 4, 2003.
The Gauchos open their first regular-season weekend series the weekend following the Waseda University game, hosting a four-game set vs. Northern Illinois. The first game is scheduled for Friday, Mar. 12 at 2 p.m.
Season tickets are still available for UCSB baseball games with season plans starting as low as $50! Plus, all fans who purchase a season ticket will receive a free UCSB hat! Click here for more information.
The use of wood bats by the Gauchos at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is a unique move, however the semi-pro Santa Barbara Foresters use wooden bats all summer long in their California Collegiate League games at the stadium. Several Gauchos every season play for the Foresters and recently UCSB baseball and the summer league team shared a fundraising dinner to improve picturesque Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The dinner, which featured Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda, was the first of its kind between the two programs and helped to raise funds to install lights at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for the 2011 season, while also making field improvements.
The baseball team, along with all other UCSB teams, are part of the Gauchos Give Tickets program. Gauchos Give Tickets provides the opportunity for local businesses, non-profit, and charitable groups to attend regular season Gaucho home games for FREE! Along with the free tickets, groups can receive recognition during the game, participate in game promotions, and get a visit from Olé!.
Back again for the 2010 season is the Baseball Buddies program which allows youth teams to come to weekend Gaucho games and take the field with the Gauchos! The teams will also receive autographs from their favorite players and sing the 7th Inning Stretch. Please contact Alan Cassinelli in the Marketing office at (805) 893-4629 for more information or e-mail him firstname.lastname@example.org.