Baseball Looks To Move Up In The Big West,Takes On 14th-Ranked Long Beach State
April 10, 2002
* Game #35 Friday April 12, 6:00 p.m. - vs. Long Beach State at Blair Field. (KCSB 91.9)
* Game #36 Saturday April 13, 6:00 p.m. - vs. Long Beach State at Blair Field. (KCSB 91.9)
* Game #37 Sunday April 14, 1:00 p.m. - vs. Long Beach State at Blair Field.
Gauchos On The Air
KCSB 91.9 FM will broadcast 12 selected games for the remainder of the 2002 season, including five of the next six games. KCSB will broadcast the Friday and Saturday games in Long Beach and will cover all three games the following weekend against Cal State Fullerton.
April 12,13 vs. Long Beach State April 19-21 vs. Cal State Fullerton April 24 vs. USC April 25 vs. Westmont April 30 vs. UCLA May 17 vs. Sacramento State May 24-26 vs. Cal Poly
Broadcast times will begin five minutes before game times.
The Gaucho Record
After two weekends of Big West Conference play, UC Santa Barbara is now 15-19 overall on the season and 2-4 in conference play. For the second weekend in a row, UCSB went 1-2 in their three-game series. The Gauchos lost the first two games to UC Irvine 4-3 and 3-2, but rebounded in a major way in game three, stomping the Anteaters 17-6. The Gauchos are batting .287 as a team, good for seventh- out of- nine teams in the Big West. The pitching staff has an ERA of 6.11, which ranks eighth in the conference.
The Dirt Bags
The 49ers of Long Beach State, better known as, the "Dirtbags", come into the series with the Gauchos, winning six-straight games and 14-of their last-17. In their last game Wednesday against Loyola Marymount, 49er head coach Mike Weathers picked up his 300th career win in a 5-3 victory. Weathers is in his first season as Long Beach's coach after replacing Dave Snow. Aside from getting swept by Fullerton March 22-24, the Dirt Bags have not lost to a team since March 3, against Louisiana State. Abe Alvarez (7-1, 2.22), Dani Eisentrager (5-2, 3.47) and Jered Weaver (4-2, 3.42) head the 49er pitching staff that leads the Big West with a 2.87 ERA. Weavers' brother, Jeff, pitches for the Detroit Tigers. Long Beach also boasts the Big West's leading hitter in Nick Covarrubias (.382, 14 2B, 20 RBI), and are batting .311 as a team. UCSB and LBSU met six times last year with the Gauchos winning five of the six games. The 49ers lead the all-time series 67-55.
Gaucho ace Matt Vasquez will take to the mound on Friday, facing off against Dirtbag ace, lefty Abe Alvarez. Game two will feature lefty Sean Thompson against Daniel Eiesentrager and the third pitcher for the Gauchos is yet to be determined, with the 49er pitcher being Jared Weaver. James Garcia got the Sunday start for the Gauchos last weekend, but a sore shoulder may keep him out of the series.
Friday, game one: (UCSB) vs. (LBSU)
Vasquez (4-4, 3.02) vs. Alvarez (7-1, 2.22)
Saturday, game two:
Thompson (2-1, 4.43) vs. Eisentrager (5-2, 3.47)
Sunday, game three: TBA vs. Weaver (4-2, 3.51)
Gaucho Probable Starters
1B * Josh McCanne * Has a base-hit in 11-of last-12 games. Seven RBI in conference. 2B * Chris Malec * Has a base-hit in 23-of last-25 games. Second on team with 39 RBI. SS * Dave Licht * Tied for rhird on team with 27 runs scored. Also has six doubles. 3B * Nate Sutton * One of four Gauchos to start all 34 games. Walked 19 times. LF * Blair Havens * Has reached base 69% of the time (16-23) when leading off an inning. CF * Andy Campanella * A beaning away from tying the school record with 13 HBP. RF * Ryan Spilborghs * Has had three 5-RBI games. Has 16 multi-hit games, 10 single-hit. C * Taylor Vogt/Nic Rodriguez * Vogt has started ten games, Rodriguez in 13. DH * Matt Wilkerson * Team leader in home runs with ten. Second on team with 31 runs.
Weekend In Review
The UC Irvine series started off with two tough one-run losses culminating with an offensive pounding in the finale. The Gaucho offense must have missed batting practing the first two days of the series as they mustered only nine hits total in games one and two, including a season-low three-hit performance in the second game. The offense came around in game three-smacking around the Irvine pitching for 17 runs on 17 hits, six which went for extra bases. UCSB scored four runs in the third, sixth and eighth innings of that game. The Gaucho pitching staff had their best series in recent memory, holding the Anteaters to just 13 runs, 10 earned, in the series. The 13 runs allowed was a major reduction from the 31 runs given up the weekend before against Cal State Northridge.
Tender Sibling Moment
In the first game against UC Irvine, an uncommon incident took place. Gaucho left-hander Kevin Miller, pitched to Anteater catcher, Chris Miller. What made the battle between the Millers so significant was that the two were forced to grow up together as identical twins. Kevin and Chris played together last year at Cuesta College, in San Luis Obispo, where they were JC All-Americans, leading the Cougars to the California JC baseball "Final Four. In the showdown, Kevin got Chris to ground out to the second baseman to end the eighth inning.
He's So Good He Has A Field Named After Him
The offense of left fielder Blair Havens has been so good that Long Beach State decided to name its field after him. Just Kidding. But seriously, ever since taking over the leadoff spot for the Gauchos 11 games ago, Havens has done nothing but hit. The junior from Los Alamitos is 19-for-45 (.422) in those eleven games including a 5-for-6 performance in the Gauchos last game against Irvine, where Havens also smacked his first home run as a Gaucho. In addition, Havens has six multi-hit games out of the 11 started.
A Tall Glass Of Santa Margarita
Freshman Chris Malec and Matt Wilkerson have made the transition as teammates from Santa Margarita High School to teammates at UCSB with relative ease. Malec, the Gauchos second baseman, is batting .321 with six home runs. He also leads UCSB with eight doubles and is second on the team with 38 RBI and ten hit-by-pitches. Malec has already had two six-RBI games this season to go with a 14-game hitting streak. Wilkerson, the Gauchos designated hitter, leads the team and is fourth in the Big West with ten home runs. Wilkerson hit two homers in the Gauchos 15-9 loss to Northridge March 30, and also slugged three against UCLA on February 26. Wilkerson is currently batting .289 with 31 runs scored and 30 RBI. Malec and Wilkerson were coached at Santa Margarita by Tip Lefebvre, brother of former Dodger and major league manager Jim Lefebvre.
After tearing up the non-conference pitching with his hitting (.396 BA, 9 HR, 37 RBI in 28 games.), junior Ryan Spilborghs has cooled off in Big West action. In six Big West games, the Santa Barbara native has looked mortal, batting a subpar .280 (7-for-25) including nine strikouts. However, despite the dropoff in hitting, Spilborghs has managed to score and drive in runs at a normal pace with five runs and five RBI in the six games. Spilborghs is still among the top hitters in the Big West, batting .375 overall, leading the Big West with 39 runs scored, five triples and 95 total bases, and is second with 42 RBI and a .699 slugging percentage. "Spilly", as teammates and friends call him, broke out of his funk against Irvine last Sunday, going 3-for-6 with two doubles, five RBI and four runs scored.
What About Bob?
Bob Brontsema is in his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 231-227 (.505). 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.
Titan-ic Weekend On The Horizon
Following the Long Beach series, the Gauchos will return home to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, to take on Cal State Fullerton, the Big West champions for the last five years and 2001 College World Series participant, from April 19-21.
Big West Standings
Conf. Overall Long Beach State 6-0 21-9 Cal State Northridge 5-1 24-11 Cal State Fullerton 5-1 21-11 UC Irvine 4-2 21-17 Cal Poly 3-3 18-20-1 Pacific 2-4 17-13-1 UC Santa Barbara 2-4 15-19 UC Riverside 0-6 19-16 Sacramento State 0-6 14-16
More News Ans Notes
* Ryan Spilborghs is the lone returning starter from2001 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 4-4 record, 3.02 ERAand 43 K's. Opposing batters are hitting only .238 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 leads the Big-West with 39 runs scored.
* 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,
* 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.