Gauchos Snap Streak But Take Finale From UCI, Get Ready For Five-Game Week
April 12, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Games No. 34, 35, 36, 37, 38
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
Cal State Northridge Matadors
Tuesday, April 13 at 2 p.m. (PST)
Wednesday, April 14 at 2 p.m. (PST)
UC Riverside Highlanders
Friday, April 16 at 2 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, April 17 at 1 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, April 18 at 1 p.m. (PST)
UC Santa Barbara had its longest winning streak since 1990 snapped as the Gauchos lost two of three to No. 10 UC Irvine over the weekend to begin Big West Conference play. UCSB was held to just three runs and 12 hits on Thursday and Friday before rebounding with an 8-2 win on Saturday. The Gauchos had won nine straight contests heading into the series with the Anteaters and will now look to start a new streak with five games this week against three different opponents.
Gauchos Salvage One Game Against Powerful UCI Pitching
After being shutout 7-0 for the first time since 2002 on Thursday by UCI right-hander Brett Smith, the Gauchos narrowly fell short of an improbable comeback on Friday and still fell 5-3. On Saturday, the UCSB showed glimpses of past weeks as the Gauchos exploded for 15 hits in an 8-2 victory. Interestingly, Thursday's and Friday's games were both played under the lights at Anteater Ballpark while Saturday's game was a daytime affair. On Thursday, UCI's Smith tossed a complete game shutout en route to being named Big West Pitcher of the Week. The junior struck out a career high 13 batters for his sixth win of the year. For the Gauchos, sophomore Michael Martin suffered his first defeat of the season as the Anteaters racked up five earned runs on eight hits off of him in 4.1 innings. On Friday, Irvine southpaw Glenn Swanson took a no-hitter into the seventh inning against the Gauchos with a 5-0 lead but lost his no-hit bid and shutout when Santa Barbara pieced together four base-hits for three runs in the top of the seventh. Pinch-hitter David Figoni highlighted the inning with a two-RBI double off the left-field wall. The Gauchos threatened again in the eighth, but the UCI bullpen headlined by mid-season All-American closer Brent Erickson shut the door on the 5-3 win for Irvine. UCSB freshman shortstop Chris Valaika blasted his fifth home run of the year on Saturday as the Gauchos ran away in the finale 8-2 for their first win over a ranked team this season. Steve Morlock picked up his fifth win in as many starts with five innings pitched as he allowed just two runs on eight hits. Valaika finished with three RBI on the day and a total of four for the weekend as UCSB improved to 22-12, 1-2 in Big West play.
For the second time in a month, UCSB will play five games in a week, only this team the Gauchos will face three different opponents. Santa Barbara will open an eight game homestand this week with a Tuesday non-conference game against Cal State Northridge, a Wednesday matchup with Westmont College, and a three-game Big West series against UC Riverside this weekend.
Gauchos On the Air
Local Santa Barbara radio station KTLK 1340 AM will be broadcasting 14 of the remaining 20 games of UCSB's schedule. Brock Bowling will be on the call for KTLK along with other on-air personalities such as KEYT-TV's Jerry Fall. Other selected games can still be heard on UCSB's very own KCSB 91.9 FM with Danny MacLeith, Anna Olsen-Wheeler and Kelly Hayes. Check out page two for KCSB's complete remaining schedule.
The Brontsema File
Bob Brontsema enters his 11th season as head coach of the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. Last year Brontsema logged his 250th victory, becoming the third coach in school history to do so, and also cementing himself as the third winningest coach in UCSB history. He enters this season with a career mark of 263-269. Brontsema's team ended the 2003 season 25-28 overall and 8-13 in Big West Conference play. Brontsema's has been selected twice as Big West Coach of the Year. In 2001, his team finished with a mark of 40-17, good for a .701 winning percentage, the highest in school history. Brontsema's 2001 squad also had 10 players sign professional contracts after the season. Brontsema was also selected as Big West Coach of the Year in 1996, when he piloted UCSB to a 32-20 overall mark.
This Week's Rotation
Tuesday vs. Northridge
Loren Fraser (RHP)
Record: 3-1 ERA: 2.39 K/BB Ratio: 2.6
Wednesday vs. Westmont
Eric Posthumus (RHP)
Record: 0-0 ERA: 13.50 K/BB Ratio: 1.0
Friday vs. UC Riverside
Michael Martin (RHP)
Record: 8-1 ERA: 3.69 K/BB Ratio: 1.1
Saturday vs. UC Riverside
Andy Graham (RHP)
Record: 2-2 ERA: 2.79 K/BB Ratio: 1.9
Sunday vs. UC Riverside
Steve Morlock (RHP)
Record: 6-4 ERA: 4.50 K/BB Ratio: 1.1
About The Opposition
Scouting the Matadors
Cal State Northridge will enter Tuesday's matchup with a 13-21 overall record and an 0-3 mark in the Big West. The teams met earlier this season on February 10 in a non-conference game at Northridge where the Gauchos used an eight-run eighth inning to propel themselves to a wild 10-7 victory. The Matadors are expected to send right-hander Scott Sistilli to the mound. The freshman, who started against UCSB back in the team's first meeting this year is still 0-0 with a 7.07 ERA in 14 innings. Sistilli only threw two innings in that outing, giving up one run on three hits. At the plate, Northridge has been led by junior John Voita who his hitting .371 with seven home runs and a team high 34 RBI. Last time against the Gauchos Voita went 2-for-4 with two runs and an RBI. First baseman Michael Paulk had three RBI against UCSB on February 10.
After UCSB's 10-7 win earlier this season, the Gauchos have pulled within one victory of tying the all-time series. Currently Northridge leads 51-50-3.
Scouting the Warriors
Wesmont comes into Wednesday's game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium having lost 10 of its last 11 and posting a 7-29 overall record. The Warriors are 2-18 in the NAIA's Golden State Athletic Conference. Leading the way with the bat has been Mitch Hawkins, whose .293 batting average is a team-best. However with a .254 average, Dominick Paluso boasts the team lead in home runs (9) and RBI (31).
The Gauchos defeated Westmont earlier this season on February 17 by a score of 22-7. In that game UCSB set what were season highs for runs and hits. With that victory, UCSB holds the all-time lead over their neighbors from Montecito 78-23.
Scouting the Highlanders
Having won 12 of its last 16 ballgames, UC Riverside will enter this weekend's three-game Big West series with a 21-15 overall record and a 1-2 conference mark. From March 12 to March 28, the Highlanders pieced together a nine-game winning streak but are most recently coming off a weekend in which they lost two of three to Big West opponent Cal Poly. At the plate Nick Salotti leads UCR, who is 8-10 on the road this season. Salotti has twice been named Big West Player of the Week this year, once sharing the honor with Gaucho second baseman Chris Malec. Salotti is hitting .382 with six home runs and 29 RBI. The catcher leads the conference with a .667 slugging percentage and ranks third with 82 total bases. Third baseman Tony Festa who was rated pre-season as one of the top 50 seniors in the nation by Baseball America, is hitting .376 with a team high 53 hits and 35 RBI. As a team, UCR is hitting .273 and has posted a team ERA of 4.23. The Gauchos can expect to see right-hander A.J. Shappi, a 2003 All-Big West second team selection, on Friday and right-hander John Martinez on Saturday. UCR's Sunday starter has yet to be announced.
Last season, UCR swept the Gauchos in Big West play while the teams split a pair of contests earlier in 2003. In the five games last year, UCR outscored the Gauchos by 22 runs. However, UCSB leads all-time 8-7.
With right-hander Loren Fraser scheduled to pitch against Cal State Northridge on Tuesday, the Gauchos should feel pretty confident in their chances. For one, Fraser picked up his first career win against the Matadors with an inning of work back on Feburary 10. Despite Fraser's ability to hold left-handers to a mere .133 average, the Matadors right-handed dominant lineup should face trouble also as Fraser has held righties to a .289 mark.
All nine games of UCSB's recent nine game winning streak were played during the day. Their first two losses following the streak, a 7-0 and a 5-3 loss to UC Irvine on April 8-9, were both played under the lights. Overall, the Gauchos are 19-8 during the day but only 2-4 at night.
Malec Honored by Big West Conference
Junior second baseman Chris Malec was named Co-Big West Player of the Week on Monday, March 1, by the conference. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native exploded for a .368 batting average over four games that week while driving in ten RBI and scoring four runs. In the Gauchos' 22-9 victory over Fresno State on Feb. 28, Malec went 3-for-6 with five RBI and two doubles. He collected hits in each of the Gauchos' games during the week. Malec also stole two bases over the week and posted a .474 slugging percentage. The selection was a first for Malec and also marked the first time any Gaucho had been awarded the honor since Mike Kolbach on April 23, 2001.
Freshman On Fire
Freshman shortstop Chris Valaika has not disappointed Gaucho fans despite extremely high expectations entering the season. The 18-year old from Newhall, Calif., is third on the squad with a .321 average. He is second with five home runs and has been extremely sure-handed in the field. Being the lone Gaucho to have never missed a single pitch in UCSB's 33 games this season, Valaika has only made seven errors at shortstop, good for a .961 fielding percentage.
Caution... Records Falling!
In their 31-3 rout over Cornell on March 25, the Gauchos set a new school record for RBI, twice tied the school record for at-bats in an inning, fell one run short of tying the school record for runs in a game and set new season highs for runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs and totals bases. UCSB tallied a total of 30 RBI, surpassing the mark of 28 set by the 1979 and 1997 squads and also knocked out 27 hits, including six doubles and four round-trippers.
Caution... Records Falling! Part 2
With 22 fielding assists, the Gauchos also set a new school record for assists in a game on March 27 against Cornell. The total eclipses the mark of 19 set against USC in 1990. Then on March 30 against LMU, 15 patient UCSB batters drew walks, setting a new school record for bases on balls in a game.
Caesar Uyesaka Construction
The third base side of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium will be under construction for the remainder of the 2004 season. Beginning on March 21, ground was broke for a new state-of-the-art clubhouse facility for UCSB baseball. Please pardon the dust and disturbance when at UCSB home games.
In the game recap on ucsbgauchos.com for UCSB's 7-0 loss on April 8, the story mentions that the game marked the first time the Gauchos had been shutout since May 9, 2000. Santa Barbara actually lost 5-0 to LMU on opnening day 2002