Baseball Opens Big West Play At Home Against Cal State Northridge

March 27, 2002

The Schedule

* Thursday March 28, 2:00 p.m. - vs. Cal State Northridge at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
* Friday March 29, 2:00 p.m. - vs. Cal State Northridge at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
* Saturday March 30, 1:00 p.m. - vs. Cal State Northridge at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

The Record

The Gauchos come into the three-game set against Cal State Northridge with a 13-15 record. UCSB last played on Tuesday, defeating Westmont 16-5 in dominating fashion. Prior to the Westmont game, the Gauchos had lost six of their last seven games including a 8-1 loss at Cal Poly on Sunday. As a team the Gauchos are batting .292 and have an ERA of 6.02.

Big West

The Gauchos will begin conference play in the Big West Conference this Thursday. According to Baseball America, the Big West is ranked seventh in the nation in terms of conference strength. Six of the nine teams have records over .500 and four,(Long Beach State (.625), Cal State Northridge(.643), Cal State Fullerton (.640) and UC Riverside(.600)) are over .600. The Gauchos open up with three games hosting Cal State Northridge, then travel to the greater Los Angeles-area the following two weekends, taking on UC Irvine and Long Beach State. Long Beach State is currently ranked 18th in the Baseball America Poll and Cal State Fullerton is ranked 14th. The Big West teams have a 119-99 (.544) overall record in non-conference games.

The Matadors

Cal State Northridge comes into Santa Barbara with a 18-10 record. The 18 wins are the most by a Big West team. The Matadors are coming off a 7-2 defeat to San Diego State on Tuesday where their pitchers walked 14 batters. CSUN's powerful offense, which leads the Big West in Home runs, is led by senior second baseman Shaun Larkin (.394, 26 RBI), who leads the Big West with 10 homer runs, 38 walks and a .578 on-base percentage. The Matador Ace is Junior Bill Murphy (6-1, 2.68), who leads the Big West in wins (6) and strikeouts (73).

Bad News For Bovines: The Spanish Bull-Fighters vs. The Argentinian Cowboys

No, it is not a cow slaughter fest, but the teams will be battling for conference wins. UCSB and CSUN have me twice already this season with the Gauchos winning the first game 16-8 and the Matadors taking the second 9-7. Northridge leads the all-time series 47-40.

Probable Pitching Match-ups: CSUN/UCSB

Game One:	Kameron Loe (1-1, 3.52) vs. Matt Vasquez (4-2, 2.58)
Game Two:	Bill Murphy (6-1, 2.68) vs. Sean Thompson (1-0, 4.56)
Game Three:	Andy Davidson (3-2, 3.46) vs. TBA 

Gaucho Probable Starters

1B * Josh McCanne * Has hit safely in his last six games and is now batting .302.
2B * Chris Malec * Batting .336 with five homers and is second in Big West with  35 RBI.
SS * Dave Licht  * Fourth on team with 22 runs scored.  Has a .393 on-base-average.
3B * Nate Sutton * After starting the season 5-for-38 (.132) has gone 23-for-60 (.383) since.
LF * Blair Havens  * Has swung his way into the starting line-up.
CF * Andy Campanella  * Leads team with three stolen bases and ten hit-by-pitches.
RF * Ryan Spilborghs * Leads Big West with five triples and 37 RBI.
C * Chad Ziemendorf *  Has gunned down seven of 16 base runners (43.8%).
DH * Matt Wilkerson/Taylor Vogt * Wilkerson has eight homers and Vogt is batting .333.

Much Needed Elixir

After losing six of seven games, the Gauchos were looking for a much needed pick-me-up win before heading into the Big West Conference dog fights, and got one against home town rival Westmont. UCSB scored a run in every single inning against the Warriors. Eleven different Gauchos scored with Ryan Spilborghs leading the way, going 3-for-4, smacking a home run and a triple to go with five RBI on the day. Freshman Eric Posthumus (2-1) picked up the win in six innings worked, striking out seven batters.

Run Bronts Run

Before the Westmont game Head Coach Bob Brontsema promised his team that he would run 20 windsprints if the Gauchos scored a run in every single inning. The last time the Gauchos scored in every inning was back in 1985, against Chapman College, so it looked like a pretty safe promise. However, UCSB managed to do so and Bronstema kept his promise by running 20 windsprints after the game with the team.

Spilly Back On Track

As with the rest of the team, junior right fielder Ryan Spilborghs had been mired in a mini-slump. Coming into the Westmont game, the Santa Barbara native had gone 3-for-21 in his last seven games, lowering his batting average 67 points to .383. Against Westmont, Spilborghs broke out with a 3-for-4 performance hitting his team-leading ninth homer and fifth-triple on the season, to go with five RBI. "Spilly", as teammates, coaches and friends call him, leads the Big West in triples and RBI (37) and is now batting .396 on the season.

It's His Job, That's What He Does

Bob Brontsema returns for his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 229-223 (.507). Brontsema is coming off his best coaching season at UCSB guiding the Gauchos to a 40-17 record, good for the best single season winning percentage (.702) at UCSB since 1986. The 40 wins were the most by a UCSB team since 1990. For his efforts, Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Brontsema has posted three straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.

On The Horizon

Following the Northridge series, the Gauchos will be on the road the following two weekends taking on UC Irvine from April 5-7 and Long Beach State from April 12-14. UCSB returns home April 19 when they host Cal State Fullerton for three games.

The Bottom Line: Hitting and Pitching Leaders (2002)

Batting Average:
Havens .412,Spilborghs .396, Malec .317

Home Runs: Spilborghs 9, Wilkerson 8, Malec 5

Runs:
Spilborghs 34, Wilkerson 25, Licht 22, Sutton 22

RBI:
Spilborghs 37, Malec 35, Wilkerson 24, McCanne 17

ERA:
Vasquez 2.58, Edrosolan 3.27, Thompson 4.56

Innings Pitched: Vasquez 45.1, Garcia 31.0, Dayley 26.1

Game Pitched:
Thompson 12,Edrosolan 11,Moran 11

Strikeouts:
Vasquez 31, Dayley 26, Garcia 25

Big West Standings

                       Conf.	Overall
 Long Beach State	     3-0	  15-9
 Cal State Northridge 	0-0	  18-10
 Pacific			            0-0	  13-9-1
 Sacramento State	     0-0	  13-10
 UC Irvine		           0-0	  16-13
 Cal Poly		            0-0	  15-17-1
 UC Santa Barbara	     0-0	  13-15
 UC Riverside		        0-3	  15-10	

More Random Notes

* Ryan Spilborghs is the lone returning starter from 2001 on the field for the Gauchos. UCSB had nine players drafted off last years 40-17 team.

* Sophomore Matt Vasquez leads the Gauchos pitching staff with a 4-2 record and 2.58 ERA. Opposing hitters are hitting only .206 against him.

* UCSB scored in every inning in their 16-5 win over Westmont. The last time that happenned was against Chapman College in 1985.

* The Gauchos scored 12 runs in the fifth inning against Creighton, in a 23-10 win on Feb. 23. UCSB also had 25 hits in that game.

* Josh McCanne hit a walk-off grandslam with two outs in the ninth, in the Gauchos 8-4 victory over Loyola Marymount, for their first win of the season on February 1.

* Ryan Spilborghs had a 35-game hitting streak in 2001. Earlier in 2002, Spilborghs had a 12-game streak. Spilborghs has 14 multi-hit games and five games with three-or more hits.

* In 2001, James Garcia became the first Gaucho to win 10 games since Santa Clara pitching coach Tom Myers did so for UCSB in 1991. Despite Garcia's 6.39 ERA, opposing hitters are batting just .230 against him this year.

* Opposing left handed batters are batting .053 (2-for-38) against Matt Vasquez, .222 (6-for-27) against Kevin Miller and .231 (6-for-26) against Sean Thompson this season.

* Three teams (UCSB, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State) made the NCAA regionals from the Big West last year, with Fullerton advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.

* Nine Gauchos were drafted off the 2001 team. Jared Schumaker (5th, St. Louis), Jim Bullard (9th, Chicago, AL), Jamie Gonzales (12th, Detroit), Dave Molidor (14th, Cincinnati), Tyler Von Schell (15th, San Francisco), Jeff Bannon (18th, Cincinnati), Chad Peshke (33rd, Cleveland) and Jed Stringham (36th, Detroit).

* Oakland Athletic Barry Zito pitched his freshman season at UCSB before transfering to Pierce JC and then finishing at USC. Current Texas Ranger second baseman, Mike Young, was a teammate of Zito's at UCSB in 1997.