Gauchos Play Northridge on Tuesday, Face Cal Poly in Conference Showdown

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April 21, 2008

The Schedule
Games No. 39, 40, 41, & 42

Tuesday, April 22 - 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Cal State Northridge
at Matador Field

Friday, April 25 - 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Cal Poly
at Baggett Stadium

Saturday, April 26 - 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Cal Poly
at Baggett Stadium

Sunday, April 27 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Cal Poly
at Baggett Stadium

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara (27-11, 6-3) travels to Northridge for a non-conference matchup between the Matadors. Tuesday's game marks the sixth time the two teamshave faced off this year, with UCSB holding the series advantage, 5-0. The most recent showdown between the two squads came on April 8, when UCSB won 6-5. From there, the Gauchos head north to face BWC rival Cal Poly. UCSB has squared off against Cal Poly twice this year, with each team having won a game. The most recent showdown went the Mustangs way, when they won 15-6 on March 11.

This Week
UCSB takes on Cal State Northridge for the sixth time this year and for the 109th time ever. With UCSB's perfect 5-0 record against the Matadors this year, the Gauchos hold the upperhand in the all-time series, 66-52. UCSB takes on Cal Poly for the third time this year, holding a 1-1 record against he Mustangs. Cal Poly ranks seventh in the BWC, but is hot having won six of their last seven games. Most recently, the Mustangs took two of three from first place UC Davis.

The Week That Was
The Gauchos started the week in dramatic fashion, beating cross-town rival Westmont College, 25-3. In the win, UCSB banged out 29 hits, six of which were home runs. From there, UCSB played a three-game split series against University of Southern California. The Gauchos swept the Trojans in convincing fashion, outscoring USC, 45-6. UCSB unloaded the hit parade on USC in Saturday's game in Los Angeles, winning 23-2. The Gauchos collected 19 hits on the day, and limited the Trojans to one extra-base hit. In addition, both Mike Ford and Chuck Huggins pitched com- plete games in the series.

The Rotation
The Gauchos will send senior Michael Martin (3-1) to the mound on Tuesday against Northridge. Martin has started seven games on the year and owns a 4.46 ERA. The senior has also made seven appearances out of the bullpen, pitching a total of 42.1 innings on the year, good for fourth on the team.

From there, the Gauchos will turn to their dominating starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins against Cal Poly. Sophomore ace Mike Ford (5-2) gets the ball in the series opener on Friday against the Mustangs. Ford pitched brilliantly in his last outing, tossing his first-career complete game, a seven-hitter. Mario Hollands (4-2) gets the nod in game two. The redshirt freshman was masterful in his Saturday outing against USC, allowing only one run in six innings of work. Hollands lowered his ERA to 3.13 in the process. Senior Chuck Huggins (7-1) mans the bump in the series finale. In his last outing, the Redwood City, Calif., native pitched a complete game shutout against USC. Huggins allowed only five hits, while striking out seven and walking three. Huggins' seventh win on the year ranks him first in the BWC in wins.

Fantastic Ford
Mike Ford is 5-2 on the year, having allowed only 19 earned runs in 61.1 innings of work. Ford's 2.79 ERA is good for sixth among all BWC pitchers. The flame- throwing righty has struck out 54, while walking only 27. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has pitched at least six innings in eight of his nine starts thus far.

Super Mario
Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands is coming into his own as a Gaucho. In nine starts the southpaw is 4-2 with a sterling 3.13 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif., native places within the top ten in the BWC in ERA, triples allowed (0), and home runs allowed (1). In addition, Hollands is sporting an impressive 41-to-15 strikeout to walk ratio. Amazingly, only 12 of the 59 hits allowed by Mario have been for extra bases, and all but one have been doubles.

Offensive Assault
UCSB is first in the Big West Conference in nine offensive categories: Batting average (.332), slugging percentage (.506), runs (313), hits (454), RBI (287), doubles (85), home runs (42), total bases (691), and sac flies (20). In addition, the Gauchos are second in the BWC in three other categories: On-base percentage (.399), plate appearances (1575), and at-bats (1366). The Gaucho attack has scored 313 runs in 38 games, an average of 8.2 runs scored per game.

Huggy Bear
Senior Chuck Huggins is leading the way for the Gaucho pitching staff. With his complete game shutout on Sunday, the southpaw owns a gaudy 7-1 record with a 3.47 ERA. The Redwood City, Calif., native owns a 59-to-17 strikeout to walk ratio thus far. Huggins is first in the BWC in wins (7), second in opponents batting average (.226), third in strikeouts (59), fourth in hits allowed (47), and ninth in innings pitched (57.0). In addition, Huggins has pitched at least five innings in all nine of his starts to begin the year. Opponents are batting a measily .217 with runners on against Huggins, while left-handed hitters are batting .172 in 64 at-bats.

Senior Mike Zuanich has provided much of the power for the Gauchos thus far. The left fielder has started all 38 games this year, hitting out of the cleanup spot. The Torrance, Calif., native ranks first on the Gauchos in every offensive power category: Slugging percentage (.604), RBI (43), and home runs (11). Over the most recent four-game span, Zuanich was 7-for-18 (.389), with nine runs scored, nine RBI, and four long balls. Against Westmont on 4/15 Zuanich had a career day, launching three home runs in a 4-for-6 effort, with four runs scored and six RBI. The slugger ranks within the top five of the BWC in six offensive categories: First in home runs (11), and sac flies (6), Second in RBI (43), and hit by pitch (8), and Fourth in slugging (.604), and total bases (87).

Consistent Carlson
After making the switch from shortstop to second base to begin the year, Shane Carlson has moved back to short after second 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 37 RBI are good for second on the team. In addition, Carlson has blossomed defensively, having made only five errors in 174 chances, a .971 fielding percentage.

Orange Oliver
Orange Coast College transfer Eric Oliver has been a key piece to the Gauchos' early season success. The Irvine, Calif., native has started all 38 games for the Gauchos at first base, while hitting out of the three hole. Oliver upped his season average to .331 over the week. He ranks within the top five on the team in 10 different offensive categories. Oliver is third in the BWC in runs scored (39) and fifth in doubles (12). The Irvine, Calif,. native has also fielded his position with ease committing only three errors in 358 chances. His 325 putouts are good for second in the Big West.

Gump The Great
Junior Brian Gump is making the most out of a starting role as the Westminster, Calif., native has started all 38 games to begin the year. The sweet-swining lefty ranks within the top five in the Big West Conference in an astounding seven different offensive categories: First in both plate appearances (186), and at-bats (165), Second in runs (43), hits (63), and stolen bases (21), Third in total bases (88), and Fifth in doubles (12). In addition, the speedster ranks Sixth in batting average (.382), and Tenth in on-base percentage (.443). Gump has reached safely nearly 43% of the time when batting leadoff, and is batting a ridiculous .463 against lefties. The athletic center fielder is already making a strong bid for BWC Player of the Year accolades.

Three's Company
The starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins is 16-5 on the year in 27 starts with a combined ERA of 3.12. The threesome owns an extraordinary 154-to-59 strikeout to walk ratio. The trio has pitched at least six innings of work in 20 of their 27 starts to begin the year.

Relief Corps.
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 25-1.

Fox Facts
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 is second in batting (.370), slugging percentage (.534), and hits (54). His four triples, 35 runs scored, 54 hits, and 17 stolen bases all rank within the top ten in the BWC. With runners on, the Redondo Beach, Calif., native is batting a red-hot .413.

Red-Hot Rose
Senior third baseman Patrick Rose leads the Gaucho infield. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native is batting .336 on the year, after a 5-for-10 four-game stretch over the last week. Rose has recorded 10 multi-hit games, including three three-hit perfomances, and one four-hit effort. Rose is third on the team in on-base percentage (.440), and leads the team in walks (19).

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, go- ing 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.

Get The Door, It's DeAlba
Junior transfer John DeAlba has had an immediate impact on the Gauchos early success. After winning MVP of the Western State Conference with the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros in 2007, the speedy outfielder has paid immediate dividends. The talented lefty has 26 hits in 26 games played, with 15 runs scored and eight doubles. After missing three weeks of action with a wrist injury, DeAlba came off the bench to go 2-for-2 with two RBI on April 19 against USC.