March 8, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Games 13, 14 and 15
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors
Friday, March 9, 2007 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, March 10, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, March 11, 2007 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
UCSB (4-8, 0-0) will host Cal State Northridge in a three-game non-conference series this weekend at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Friday's game one is slated to be played at 2 p.m. and will feature RHP Steve Morlock pitted against senior RHP Joe Rocchio for the Matadors. Saturday and Sunday's games are slated for 1 p.m. starts.
A Look Back to Last Week
UCSB is coming off a 13-12 loss to No. 10 Pepperdine on Tuesday of this week. The Gauchos managed to jumpstart the offense, posting an impressive twelve runs on thirteen hits against a good Pepperdine pitching staff. Seniors Robbie Blauer and Mario Lewis and juniors Chris Fox and Mike Zuanich all contributed two hits in the game. Senior right-hander Justin Segal also appeared in his eighty-second game of his career, moving him into the top spot on the Gaucho all-time records list in that category. Last weekend the Gauchos dropped two of three games at the Lamar Classic being hosted by the Lamar Cardinals in Beaumont, Texas. UCSB squared-off against Lamar in game one of the tournament, falling 7-5. In Saturday's game two, UCSB once again found itself on the short end of the stick, this time dropping a 9-6 decision to St. John's. The Gauchos managed to best a strong Kansas State team on Sunday by a score of 8-6 in eleven innings. The big blow came off the bat of Blauer, who blasted the eventual game-winning homerun in the top of the eleventh.
Bring in the Righty...
Senior Justin Segal moved into the top spot on the all-time Gaucho record lists in appearances (82) when he entered Tuesday's game in the eighth and pitched the final two innings on the hill for the Gauchos in the loss. The submariner had no trouble in the eighth, but surrendered one run on two hits in the ninth while striking out one batter. Segal began the year with 75 appearances and was just six shy of tying Dan Yokubaitis for the top spot on the list. In 2003, his first year pitching for the Gauchos, the submariner appeared in twelve games and pitched nine and a third innings out of the Gaucho bullpen. Two years later, Segal was back on the hill, tossing forty-six and a third innings in twenty-seven relief appearances. Last year, the Calabasas, Calif. native set both a Gaucho single-season record and took the top spot in the Big West Conference with 36 appearances. Segal finished the year with a team and Big West-best 2.29 ERA in 55 innings pitched. He also set a single-season record for fewest earned runs surrendered in fifty or more innings pitched with 14.
Call to the Bullpen
Right-handers Bryan Fleming and Matt Wade have emerged as reliable arms out of the Gaucho bullpen this season. Fleming has appeared in five games this year, tossing eight and a third innings and surrendering three runs on eight hits and four walks while striking out five en route to a 3.24 ERA. The Marin, Calif. native's longest outing came on Sunday when he threw three and a third scoreless innings to shut down the Kansas State offense and earn his first victory of the season. Wade has contributed 5.2 innings out of the Gaucho bullpen thus far, allowing two runs in six appearances to earn a 3.18 ERA. His six appearances rank second on the team behind Justin Segal and Chuck Huggins who have appeared in seven games apiece.
Anderson Heats Up
Senior backstop Matt Anderson had an outstanding weekend at the Lamar Classic. The Cameron Park, Calif. native batted two-for-three with a walk on Friday against Lamar. For the second straight day, Anderson led the Gauchos offensively in terms of average on Saturday. This time he batted four-for-five with a double, a triple, two runs scored and two RBI. After the outstanding performance, Anderson sat atop the Gaucho overall statistics in average, hitting a .444 clip through that game. For Anderson, the double was his second on the year and the triple was the first of his Gaucho career. In addition, Anderson's four hits were the most he has collected as a Gaucho, one-upping his three-hit performance against Dartmouth on Mar. 16 of last year. Anderson capped the three-day tournament with a homerun in his first at bat of the day on Sunday. The homer was his first of the season. With a single and a run scored on Tuesday against Pepperdine, Anderson has now collected eight hits in his last four games played.
The Big Bats
As the season progresses, it is looking like senior Robbie Blauer and junior Mike Zuanich will be looked upon throughout the season for production at the plate. So far, the two hitters have done their jobs hitting in the middle of the order for UCSB. Junior Chris Fox, the Gauchos' leadoff hitter, is doing an outstanding job of getting on base thus far this season. As a result, if Blauer and Zuanich continue to stay hot, it is just a matter of time before they start driving in Fox and other Gaucho base runners. In fact, Blauer managed to cash-in in a big way on Sunday against Kansas State. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native finished four-for-six with a double, two runs scored, an eventual game-winning homerun (his first of the year) in the top of the eleventh and five RBI. In addition to carrying a thirteen-game hitting streak into this weekend, Blauer has now homered in two straight games and accumulated six multi-hit games in the last eight games played to the tune of a team-leading .449 batting average. As for Zuanich, the Torrance, Calif. native is now hitting at a .333 clip with two doubles, a homerun, eight walks, seven runs scored and seven RBI. Three of his seven RBI came on Tuesday against Pepperdine when he batted two-for-four. The seven RBI rank Zuanich tied for second on the team in that category.
Probable Gaucho Starters
DH - Matt Anderson - Has eight hits in his last four games.
C - Chris McMurray - Has thrown out ten of fifteen would-be base stealers this year.
1B - Robbie Blauer - Has six multi-hit games in his last eight games played.
2B - Matt Valaika - Batted 1-3 with a double, a run scored and two RBI on Tuesday.
3B - Patrick Rose - Currently ranks fourth on the squad in runs scored with five.
3B - Gunnar Terhune - Has started the last two games for the Gauchos at third base.
SS - Shane Carlson - Has a hit in two of his last three games played.
LF - Mike Zuanich - Batted .500 and collected three RBI in the game on Tuesday.
CF - Chris Fox - Has a hit in all but one game this season.
RF - Mario Lewis - Has collected two hits in both of the last two games.
DH - Cody Dee - Currently riding a three-game hit streak.
DH - Steve Domecus - Has two homeruns in only eleven at bats this season.
Scouting the Matadors
Cal State Northridge is coming off a 9-8 loss to Loyola Marymount on Tuesday and a series loss to Texas Christian this past weekend. The Matadors almost doubled their home run output on Tuesday alone, hitting four home runs at Loyola Marymount, including three in the second inning. Northridge got four runs in both the second and third frames but were blanked the rest of the way, falling 9-8 in 11 innings. The Matadors were defeated 2-1 in the weekend series after taking game two of the series on Saturday. TCU defeated CSUN in Friday's game one by a score of 5-0. Joe Rocchio took the bump for the Matadors on Friday and pitched well through four, holding the Red Raiders scoreless through into the fifth frame. Unfortunately, Tech starter A.J. Ramos did the same and held on to a slim lead when the tech offense got going in the fifth. The Red Raiders held on for a 5-0 win. The Matador offense came to life Saturday, jumping out to a four run lead after three innings and coming away with the wire-to-wire 8-3 win. Edwin Quirarte preserved Jimmy Jolicoeur's win emphatically by striking out the three batters he faced in the bottom of the ninth. Chuckie Fick took the ball for Sunday's rubber match, and the offense could not keep up with Tech's scoring pace. the Matadors surrendered five unearned runs, and a late-inning surge cold only get them within five in a 10-5 loss. Senior Jorge Andrade, Jr. (.417, 2 HR, 11 RBI), senior Jon Sakurai (.369, 0 HR, 10 RBI) and freshman C.J. Belanger (.329, 0 HR, 11 RBI) lead the Matadors offensively. The CSUN starting rotation is slated to be senior RHP Joe Rocchio (1-1, 2.45 ERA) on Friday, sophomore RHP Jimmy Jolicoeur (4-1, 3.38 ERA) on Saturday and the Sunday starter is TBA.
UCSB leads the all-time series between the two teams, 56-51.
The Brontsema File
2007 marks the 26th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 14th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 352-356 (.497). 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 Tournament berth. The .702 winning percentage in 2001 ranks third highest 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 his coaching career include April 27, 1997, marking his 100th career win with a 16-4 victory over the University of Pacific and April 7, 2001, that saw him earn career win number 200 with a 7-2 victory over UC Riverside. The 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Feb. 13, 2005 marked yet another milestone for Brontsema, career win number 300. Victory number 344, which pushed him past Dave Gorrie and into the No. 2 spot in career wins, came May 12, 2006 in an 8-6 win over Long Beach State.
What's Up Next?
After the three-game series against Cal State Northridge, the Gauchos will host Minnesota in a two-game game mid-week series being played on Tuesday and Wednesday at 2 p.m. After the two-game set with the Golden Gophers, UCSB will host Loyola Marymount in a three-game series over the weekend. Friday's game one is slated to begin at 2 p.m. Saturday's first pitch is slated for 1 p.m. and Sunday's finale should see a 1 p.m. first pitch.