April 14, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Entering this weekend's three game Big West Conference series with UC Riverside, UCSB will post a 23-12 overall record and a 1-2 conference mark. The Gauchos will also come into the series with the fourth best fielding percentage in the nation and one of the countries hottest base runners.
Thru games as of April 11, the Gauchos, with a .977 fielding percentage, ranked fourth among all NCAA Division 1 baseball teams. Tied with UCSB is Oral Roberts and ahead of them are Nebraska (.978), North Carolina State (.978), and Creighton (.980).
The Gauchos are also ranked 21st in the nation with 8.4 runs scored per game. That mark is the best for any Big West Conference team.
Senior third baseman Nate Sutton in ninth in the nation with 0.64 stolen bases per game. In the Gauchos' 35 games this season, Sutton has swiped 21 bags. He also ranks among the top 25 in runs scored per game at 1.40. The mark is good for 23rd in the country.
UCSB's right-handed ace Michael Martin (8-1) is among just nine pitchers in the nation with at least eight wins. His eight victories places him in a tie for third most in the NCAA with Long Beach State's Jered Weaver topping that list with a 10-0 record.
Also, in its 16-4 victory over Westmont College on Wednesday, UCSB surpassed its run output from 2003 as the Gauchos scored their 302nd run of the season. Last year, UCSB finished with 293 runs scored. UCSB also passed last year's total of 261 RBI today as the Gauchos racked up 13 more, bring their 2004 total to 269. Santa Barbara also continued collecting bases on balls at a torrid pace with six more free passes. The team's 187 walks is already 20 more than the 2003 Gauchos had.