UCSB Takes on USC in Three-Game Split
April 15, 2008
Games No. 35, 36, 37, & 38
Tuesday, April 15 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
Westmont at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara (23-11, 6-3) welcomes local foe Westmont for a single game on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. In their only other meeting of the season, UCSB won 6-3. From there, UCSB plays two of three at home against Uni- versity of Southern California (18-16, 6-6). In between Friday and Sunday's home games, the two squads travel to Los Angeles for Saturday's 1:00 p.m. game. USC holds the all-time series advantage, 63-31.
UCSB takes on Westmont for the second time this season and the 109th time ever. UCSB holds the all-time series advantage, 85-23. The last time the Gauchos and Trojans squared off, UCSB won 11-6. The two squads split last years season series, 1-1, with the Trojans winning the first game, 7-5. While UCSB occupies second place in the Big West Conference with a 6-3 record, USC sits in sixth place in the Pac 10 Conference. USC recently took two of three games from No. 5 California over the weekend.
The Week That Was
The Gauchos started the week in winning fashion, beating BWC rival Cal State Northridge, 6-5 in a non-conference game. From there, UCSB welcomed the newest member of the Big West Conference, UC Davis, for a three-game weekend set. The Gauchos took game one of the series, 9-2, but the Aggies were quick to rebound, winning games two and three of the series. After the dust had settled, Davis sat atop the BWC with a 5-1 record.
The Gauchos will send senior Michael Martin (3-1) to the mound on Tuesday against Westmont. Martin has started six games on the year and owns a 4.24 ERA. The senior has also made seven appearances out of the bullpen, pitching a total of 40.1 innings, good for fourth on the team.
From there, the Gauchos will turn to their normal starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins against USC. Sophomore ace Mike Ford (4-2) will pitch in the series opener against the Trojans on Friday. Ford pitched brilliantly in his last outing, al- lowing only two runs on four hits in eight innings of work. Ford fanned five while walking four, to push his strikeout-to-walk totals to 46-25. Mario Hollands (3-2) gets the nod in game two. The redshirt freshman struggled in his last start, allowing five earned runs in 5.1 innings. Hollands allowed eight hits while striking out one and walking three. Senior Chuck Huggins (6-1) mans the bump in the series finale against the Trojans. In his last outing, the Redwood City, Calif., native pitched into the fifth inning against the Aggies. The southpaw allowed six earned runs on eight hits, striking out three and walking two. Huggins' six wins are still tops in the entire BWC.
Mike Ford is 4-2 on the year, having allowed only 20 earned runs in 52.1 innings of work, while striking out 46. The flame-throwing righty has allowed only two long balls in his eight starts. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has pitched at least six innings in seven of his eight starts to begin the year.
UCSB is first in the Big West Conference in two offensive categories: Slugging percent- age (.481), and home runs (33). In addition, the Gauchos are second in the BWC in five other categories: Runs scored (253), hits (389), RBI (230), total bases (581), and sac flies (18). The Gaucho attack has scored 253 runs in 34 games, an average of 7.4 runs scored per game.
Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands is com- ing into his own as a Gaucho. In eight starts the southpaw is 3-2 with a sterling 3.33 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif., native places within the top ten in the BWC in ERA, opponents batting average (,253). In addition, Hollands is sporting an im- pressive 36-to-12 strikeout to walk ratio. Amazingly, only 12 of the 50 hits allowed by Mario have been for extra bases, and all but one have been doubles.
Senior Chris Fox, an All-Big West Honorable Mention selection in 2007, has picked up where he left off last season, providing speed and power out of the two hole. Fox leads the team in triples (4) and slugging percentage (.557). His four triples, 30 runs scored, 49 hits, 73 total bases, .374 batting average, and 14 stolen bases all rank within the top ten in the BWC. With runners on, the Redondo Beach, Calif., native is batting a red-hot .419.
After making the switch from shortstop to second base to begin the year, Shane Carlson has moved back to short after sec- ond baseman Matt Valaika went down to injury. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif., native had an 18-game hitting streak from Feb. 22 to Mar. 16. In eight of those 18 games, Carlson had multi-hit performances. His 34 RBI are tied for first on the team. In addition, Carlson has blossomed defen- sively, having made only four errors in 155 chances, a .974 fielding percentage. red-hot .419.
Senior Chuck Huggins is leading the way for the Gaucho pitching staff. With his no- decision on Sunday, the southpaw still owns a 6-1 record with a 4.12 ERA. The Redwood City, Calif., native owns a 52-to-14 strikeout to walk ratio thus far. Huggins is first in the BWC in wins (6), fourth in opponents batting average (.236), and third in strikeouts (52). In addition, Huggins has pitched at least five innings in all eight of his starts to begin the year. Left-handed hitters are batting .160 against Huggins in 50 at-bats.
Orange Coast College transfer Eric Oliver has been a key piece to the Gauchos' early season success. The Irvine, Calif., native has started all 34 games for the Gauchos at first base, while hitting out of the three hole. Oliver upped his season average to .318 over the week. He ranks within the top five on the team in 10 dif- ferent offensive categories. Oliver owns an impressive .552 succes rate in advancing runners. Oliver has also fielded his posi- tion with ease committing only three er- rors in 323 chances. His 294 putouts are good for third in the Big West.
Gump The Great
Junior Brian Gump is making the most out of starting role as the Westminster, Calif., native has started in all 34 games to begin the year. The sweet-swining lefty ranks within the top three in the Big West Conference in three offensive categories: runs (39), hits (54), and stolen bases (18). In addition, Gump is seventh in batting average (.380), fifth in doubles (11), and fourth in total bases (75). Gump is batting .429 when leading off, and an astounding .484 with runners on.The athletic center fielder is already making a strong bid for BWC Player of the Year accolades.
The starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins is 13-5 on the year in 24 starts with a combined ERA of 3.32. The threesome owns an extraordinary 134-to-51 strikeout to walk ratio, and has allowed a mere eight homeruns. The trio has pitched at least six innings of work in 17 of their 24 starts to begin the year.
The Bob Brontsema File
2008 marks the 27th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 15th season as head coach, after ten years as an as- sistant and two as a player. He has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, first in 1996 when he guided the Gauchos to a 32-20 record and an at-large bid in the NCAA Tournament, and again in 2001, when he led the team to a 40-17 mark and another NCAA Tournament berth. The .702 winning percentage in 2001 ranks third highest in school history. In 2004, Brontsema's Gauchos posted the second most overall wins in his career as head coach, going 33-21. Milestone dates in his coaching career include April 27, 1997, marking his 100th career win with a 16-4 victory over the University of Pacific and April 7, 2001, a day that saw him earn career win number 200 with a 7-2 victory over UC Riverside. The 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Feb. 13, 2005 marked yet another milestone for Brontsema, career win number 300. Victory number 344, which pushed him past Dave Gorrie and into the No. 2 spot in career wins, came May 12, 2006 in an 8-6 win over Long Beach State.
Be Like Mike
Senior Mike Zuanich has provided much of the power for the Gauchos thus far. The left fielder is second in the BWC in home runs (7), third in RBI (34), and first in sac flies (6).
Junior Matt Wade and Kyle Brown accounted for 54.2 innings last year and will be two of the most reliable arms out of the bullpen for UCSB in 2008. Thus far, Brown has allowed only two earned runs. Junior transfer Zach Samuels has blossomed in his role out of the pen, allowing just 15 hits in 18.2 innings of work. The right-hander is very dependable and is third in the BWC in relief appearances with 16. Five individual relievers have earned at least one save. Brown has one, junior Zach Samuels has one, Michael Martin has one, Jason Roenicke has one, and sophomore Clayton Edwards leads the Gauchos with three. When leading after six innings, the Gauchos are 22-1.
Get The Door, It's DeAlba
Junior transfer John DeAlba has had an immediate impact on the Gauchos early suc- cess. The talented lefty has 23 hits in 24 games played, with 14 runs scored and seven doubles.