No. 19 Gauchos Open Big West Play at Northridge

No. 19 Gauchos Open Big West Play at Northridge

March 25, 2009

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• The Schedule
Friday, March 27 at 3:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 28 at 1:00 p.m.
Sunday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-5) at Cal State Northridge (9-13) at Cal State Northridge's Matador Field
Series record vs. the Matadors - (66-53)
2008 season record vs. the Matadors - (4-1)
Game available online through Gametracker

Tuesday, March 31 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-5) vs. San Diego State (15-8) at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Series record vs. the Aztecs - (8-29)
2008 season record vs. the Aztecs - (N/A)
Game broadcast live on KCSB 91.9 FM
Game available online through Gametracker
Streaming video available through

Wednesday, April 1 at 2:00 p.m.
UC Santa Barbara (13-5) at San Diego State (15-8) at San Diego State's Tony Gwynn Stadium
Game available online through Gametracker

• Coming Up
Following two non-conference games vs. UC Riverside, the Gauchos open Big West play with a three-game series at Cal State Northridge. Next week UCSB plays a home and home with San Diego State on Tuesday and Wednesday - the first time the teams have met since 2004. The Gauchos then host Pacific over the April 3 weekend. Individual game and season tickets remain available from the Ticket Office in the Intercollegiate Athletics Building on campus, by calling 805-893-UCSB or online by clicking here. Fans who purchase season tickets will also receive a free baseball cap for each ticket purchased.

• First Time, Long Time
At No. 19, the Gauchos have cracked the top-20 in a national poll for the first time since 2001 when UCSB was ranked No. 20 by Collegiate Baseball. The last time a UCSB team to be ranked higher than that came in 1990 when the Gauchos were No. 17 in the Sporting News poll.

• For the Record: The Best Start Since 1991
UCSB has opened the 2009 season with a 13-5 record. The last time the Gauchos started a season with a 13-5 record was in 1991. That year, they started at 13-5, but eight of the wins were against non-Division 1 competition.

• Rank and File
The Gauchos have climbed up in several polls. UCSB's highest rank is No. 19 courtesy of and the Gauchos moved up two spots to No. 20 in the Baseball America poll. UCSB dropped one spot to No. 24 by Ping! Baseball, and jumped one spot to No. 29 by Collegiate Baseball. The Gauchos are also receiving votes in the USA Today and National College Baseball Writer's Association polls.

• Gardner Keeps Mowing `Em Down
Junior Joe Gardner has had a tremendous impact on the Gauchos in his first season at UCSB. Not only does he lead the Big West with his 1.38 ERA, but that mark ranks him 21st in the nation. He is the first Gaucho pitcher to lead the Big West in ERA since at least 2002, as far back as the conference's weekly records go.

• Pitching In
UCSB started the week leading the Big West with a 3.36 team ERA, the second consecutive week the Gauchos have led the conference in that category. The last Santa Barbara squad to lead the conference in team ERA during a week came Feb. 19, 2007.

• Cavan a Good Time
Ryan Cavan leads the Big West with his .436 batting average, the first Gaucho to top the conference since at least 2002 - as far back as the conference's weekly record-keeping goes. Without trying to jinx it and for informational purposes only, the last Gaucho to hit .400 was Skip Schumaker in 2001. UCSB's highest batting average in a season was Cy Williams' .434 mark (100-200 at-bats) in 1948 although Bill Geivett's .412 mark is considered the one to beat since he did it in 1985 with over 200 at-bats. Cavan's .537 on-base percentage is also tops in the Big West.

• Cummings and Goings
Third baseman Robby Cummings ranks 15th in the nation with 31 RBI and is second in the country with his 1.94 RBI per game average. Cummings has driven in a run in all but three of his 17 games and over his past 10 games he has knocked in 21 runs. The senior's 31 RBI entering this week lead the Big West by five over Cal Poly's Matt Jensen. Cummings is tied for second in the conference with six home runs.

• Meals Ticket
David Meals has been outstanding in his first year in Division I. Already he has earned three saves - equaling the most by a Gaucho last season - in seven appearances while posting a 1.88 ERA and a .182 batting average against. The last UCSB pitcher to post double-digit saves was Alex McRobbie (UCSB's all-time saves leader) when he had 14 in 2005. Meals, a Colorado Springs, Colo. native was named the Community College Pitcher of the Year last season for West Valley College after going 8-1 with a 2.93 ERA.

• A Positive Balance
UCSB has a 135-92 advantage in runs scored this season. They are averaging 7.5 runs per game as opposed to their opponents 5.1 per game, and they have scored 10 or more five times and nine in two other games.

• Thievery Corporation
The Gauchos are third in the Big West in stolen bases with 28 and they are second with an 82.4% success rate. Leading the way are outfielders Brian Gump and Mark Haddow who have stolen 11-of-14 and 7-of-8, respectively. Gump is second in the Big West and Haddow ranks fourth. Nine different players have at least one stolen base and four have stolen multiple bases.

Probable Starting Lineup

Batting No. Name Pos. Yr. 2009 Notes
1. 16 Brian Gump CF Sr. 11 stolen bases is 41st in nation
2. 4 Ryan Cavan SS Jr. .436 average is tops in Big West
3. 21 Eric Oliver 1B Sr. One of two Gauchos to start all 18 games
4. 22 Shane Carlson DH Sr. Has been DH in 12 of 16 games played
5. 8 Matt Valaika 2B Jr. Has 13 RBI in just 17 games played
6. 10 Robby Cummings 3B Sr. 1.94 RBI per game avg is 2nd in nation
7. 25 Mark Haddow RF So. Just 2 hits in past 18 at-bats
8. 26 Marty Mullins C Jr. 3 for his past 9 with 2 2B, 2 RBI
9. 5 Gunnar Terhune LF Jr. 8 for his past 20 (.400)

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday 18 Joe Gardner RHP Jr. Leads Big West with 1.38 ERA
Saturday 11 Mario Hollands LHP So. 3 Ks, 3 H, 1 ER in 4 IP on Sunday
Sunday 12 Mike Ford RHP Jr. Has allowed 7 ER in past 6.2 IP (2 starts)
Tuesday 28 Jesse Meaux RHP So. Has not allowed a home run in 17.1 IP

• The Bob Brontsema File
The 2009 season marks the 28th year of Head Coach Bob Brontsema's involvement with the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. With two years as a player, 10 as an assistant coach and now entering his 16th season at the helm, Brontsema has been involved in 830 Gaucho victories, far more than anyone in UCSB baseball history. In fact, he has participated in over 60 percent of all UCSB victories in school history. Entering this year, Brontsema ranks second in career wins, third in overall career winning percentage and third in career conference winning percentage. He also holds the record for most Division I wins in school history. His 16 years as Gaucho head coach give him the second longest tenure in UCSB baseball history, behind Dave Gorrie with 18 years. The dean of Big West coaches, he currently ranks first in Big West career wins amongst active Big West coaches and No. 1 in overall wins. In career conference wins, only five individuals throughout the history of the Big West surpass Brontsema.

• Pink Week

In its on-going effort to draw awareness to breast cancer and to promote its research, the UCSB Athletics Department will sponsor "Pink Week" at three of its athletics events on Mar. 28, 2009. Three UCSB intercollegiate events, scheduled for Saturday, Mar. 28, have been desiganated "Pink Week" games. The women's tennis match, slated for 11 a.m. on the Robertson Gymnasium Courts, a softball doubleheader scheduled to start at 12 p.m. on Campus Diamond, and a 12 p.m. women's water polo match at Campus Pool will all be part of the effort.

"Pink Week" is part of UCSB Athletics' BE Great initiative.