UCSB Re-Enters Big West Play By Hosting Cal Poly For Three

UCSB Re-Enters Big West Play By Hosting Cal Poly For Three

April 21, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Schedule
Games No. 39, 40, 41 • Cal Poly
Friday, April 22, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. (PST)
Saturday, April 23, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
Sunday, April 24, 2005 at 1:00 p.m. (PST)
• All games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
• Santa Barbara, CA

On Deck For This Weekend
This weekend, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team hosts Central Coast rival Cal Poly for a three-game set beginning Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Mustangs travel south boasting a 24-14 overall record and a 5-1conference record, while the Gauchos are 19-19 and 1-2 in conference. In fact, UCSB is the only Big West Conference team that has played only three league games while half the conference has already played nine. Santa Barbara finishes up its season playing 18-straight Big West games.

2005 Record
UCSB enters its match-up with Cal Poly boasting a 19-19 record, dropping their lone conference series to Pacific way back on the weekend of April 1. The Gauchos finished-up their non-conference schedule by taking two out of three games from UCLA and dropping one to No. 22 USC, 8-2.

The Gauchos On KIST
All of UCSB's games will be broadcast live on KIST 1340 AM in Santa Barbara. In addition, all games carried on KIST will be linked to the Gauchos' Official Website at www.UCSBgauchos.com. They will be part of the College Sports Network's College Sports Pass.

A Look at Last Weekend
The UC Santa Barbara baseball team finished off its last non-conference series of the season by taking two of three games from UCLA last weekend. The Gauchos defeated the Bruins 9-4 in Friday's series opener at Jackie Robinson Stadium. UCLA returned the favor on Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium as it outlasted UCSB, 9-8. In Sunday's rubber match, the Gauchos took the set with a 4-3 victory. In game one on Friday, junior starting pitcher Michael Martin (4-3) earned the win by allowing seven hits and three runs (all earned) in 7.0 innings of work. Closer Alex McRobbie picked-up his eighth save by tossing 2.0 scoreless innings or relief. Freshman designated hitter Matt Aidem came up big as he tripled (2) with the bases loaded, giving the Gauchos a lead they would never relinquish. In Saturday's game, Santa Barbara erased a six run lead only to eventually fall 9-8. Down 7-1, senior catcher Matt Kalafatis got the Gauchos right back in the game as he hit UCSB's first inside-the-park home run in 18 years. Santa Barbara evened the affair at 8-8 with junior first baseman Bill Rowe's three-run laser (3) to right field. Senior relief pitcher Loren Fraser tossed 3.0 innings but gave up UCLA's go-ahead run in the top of the eight inning. The win for the Bruins snapped an all-time high 19-game losing streak. In Sunday's series finale, junior starting hurler Steve Morlock looked impressive, as he did not allow an earned run in 6.2 innings pitched. Closer Alex McRobbie earned his ninth save by keeping the Gauchos ahead in the final inning. McRobbie is now one save shy of tying the UCSB single-season record of 10 held by Chris Quiroz. Senior third baseman David Figoni had a big day at the plate, going 2-for-5 with two RBI and one run scored.

Returning The Favor
After defeating the 25th-ranked Trojans 9-8 at home on April 13, USC got even by handing the Gauchos an 8-2 loss on Tuesday at Dedeaux Field. Southern Cal starting pitcher Jack Spradlin (4-1) held Santa Barbara to four hits and two runs (both earned). Seniors Matt Kalafatis and Matt Wilkerson led the Gauchos offensive attack with one RBI each. In a losing effort, senior starting pitcher Loren Fraser looked strong, allowing only four hits and three runs (all earned) in 4.0 innings.

The Brontsema File
2005 marks the 24th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 12th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. With a 6-1 victory over San Jose State on Sunday Feb. 13, Brontsema became the third coach in school history to collect career victory No.300. The Gaucho skipper currently owns a record of 315-309. He has been selected Big West Coach of the Year twice, in 1996 when he guided the Gauchos to a 32-20 record and an at-large spot in the NCAA Tournament, and in 2001, when he led the team to a 40-17 mark and another NCAA tourney berth. The .701 winning percentage in 2001 was the best 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 Brontsema's coaching career include win no. 100 in 1997, win no. 200 in 2001, and win no. 300 in 2005.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Matt Kalafatis - Had an inside-the-park HR on Sunday.
1B - Bill Rowe - Two homers in last five games.
2B - Matt Stevens - Making his second start at 2B this season.
SS - Alden Carrithers - Second on the team with .440 OB%.
3B - David Figoni - Tied for team-high with 45 hits.
LF - C.J. Cook - Has 14 hits, eight runs scored and two doubles.
CF - Matt Emerick - Perfect 4-for-4 in stolen bases this season.
RF - Matt Wilkerson - Team leading eight homers and 37 RBI.
DH - Matt Aidem - Paces the team with a .380 batting average.

UCSB Flame Throwers
Because of their success against UCLA, pitching coach Tom Myers has elected to go with the same pitching rotation he used last weekend. In Friday's series opener, junior right-hander Michael Martin (4-3, 4.41 ERA), boasting a team-high 69.1 innings pitched, will get the start against Cal Poly. On Saturday, sophomore Andy Graham (4-3, 5.14 ERA) will be looking to pick-up his fifth victory of the season against the Mustangs. In Sunday's series finale junior Steve Morlock (4-5, 6.24 ERA) is penciled-in to make his team-leading 12th start of the campaign.

Back in 1987
Before senior Matt Kalafatis hit a three-run inside-the-park home run in Saturday's 9-8 loss to UCLA, it had been 18 long years since a Gaucho had accomplished the feat. The last time a UCSB player had touched all the bases without the ball going out of the park was when Erik Johnson did it against Westmont on February 4, 1987. Back in 1987 Ronald Reagan was president, U2's Joshua Tree was album of the year, Moonstruck, Wall Street, The Last Emperor and Fatal Attraction were all movies that had just been released, the Minnesota Twins won their first world series and this young SID just turned five years old.

Wilkerson Watch 2005
Sitting on eight home runs for the past four games, senior right field Matt Wilkerson is still tied with Jeff Antoon for the second spot on the UCSB career home runs list with 37. Wilkerson's next four-bagger will give him the No. 2 position, three shy of the top spot. Even with three RBI in the UCLA series and one at USC on Tuesday, Wilkerson is still sitting in the No. 6 slot on the all-time UCSB career RBI list with 172. He is still five RBI shy of catching Chad Peshke. The Santa Margarita, Calif., native is 34 RBI short of becoming UCSB's RBI King.

The Shortstop Blues
It is 2005 and head coach Bob Brontsema has got to be scratching his head about his problems at shortstop. After a 2004 that saw freshman Chris Valiaka make all 54 starts at shortstop. UCSB has started five, count them FIVE different shortstops this season. In Friday's series opener against the Mustangs, freshman Alden Carrithers is penciled in to get the start at the number six position in the field, making him the fifth Gaucho to get a start at shortstop this season. Sophomore Chris Valaika had to sit down due to a season ending knee injury. His replacement Chris Malec, shifting over from second base, is sidelined indefinitely after undergoing testicular cancer surgery. Junior Travis LeBouf and freshman Scott Cohen both have minor injuries forcing the freshman from Portland, Ore. into the starting role. As Carrithers shifts from second to shortstop, utility man Matt Stevens will get his second start at second base on Friday.

Scouting the Mustangs
Entering Friday's match-up, Cal Poly holds a 24-14 record (5-1 conference), having taken two out of three games from UC Davis last weekend. Catcher Kyle Blumenthal is leading the Mustangs with a .372 batting average and 37 RBI. Left fielder Matt Cooper is batting .315 and has a team-leading 11 doubles, six home runs, and 70 total bases. Friday's starting pitcher Garrett Olson is 8-2 with a 2.95 ERA in 13 starts this season. He leads the team with 88.1 innings pitched. Scheduled to take the hill on Saturday is right-hander Jimmy Shull. In 12 starts this year, Shull is 4-5 a 4.88 ERA. In Sunday's series finale, unbeaten Gary Daley (4-0, 4.42 ERA) is penciled-in to get the nod for Cal Poly.

Series Record
UCSB has a 101-77 edge in its series with Cal Poly. The two teams have already faced each other three times in non-conference games. The Gauchos won 11-8 at home on March 1 but the Mustangs returned the favor with 4-2 and 9-4 victories in Baggett Stadium on March 9 and 28, respectively.