UCSB Hosts CSUN in Three-Game Conference Series Over Weekend

April 27, 2006


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The Schedule
Games 38-40
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos vs. Cal State Northridge Matadors
Friday, April 28, 2006 at 2:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Saturday, April 29, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
Sunday, April 30, 2006 at 1:00 p.m. at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

This Week
UCSB (17-20, 3-6) will take on CSUN (18-20, 2-6) in a three-game conference series over the weekend. Game one is scheduled to start at 2 p.m., game two is slated for 1 p.m. and Sunday's series finale is scheduled to be played at 1 p.m.

A Look Back at Last Week
UCSB is coming off a week in which it went 2-2 in the win/loss column. The Gauchos dropped a three-game series 2-1 at UC Irvine before defeating No. 22 UCLA on Tuesday in Los Angeles. UCSB dropped game one to the Anteaters by a count of 12-2. UCSB completed an 8-7 comeback, in which it scored five runs in the ninth, to even the series at one game apiece. The Gauchos lost the series on Sunday, falling to UCI 14-4 in the final game. After the conference series loss, UCSB came back to knock-off twenty-second ranked UCLA by a score of 11-8 earlier this week.

Carrithers and Emerick
It seems as though the left-handed hitters are starting to guide the Gauchos offensively. Two of the main players in this movement have been sophomore leadoff-man Alden Carrithers and senior centerfielder Matt Emerick. Carrithers, who has held the No. 1 spot in many offensive categories since the start of the 2006 campaign, has stayed hot as of late. Emerick got off to a slow start to begin the season, but has been on a tear since conference play began. Carrithers is batting .376 on the season with forty-three runs scored, twenty-one RBI and a team-leading .491 OBP. In addition, Carrithers has picked up some surprising power as of late. The Portland, Ore. native has homered in each of his last two games, including a towering home run at UCLA on Tuesday. Emerick, a local product, is finishing up his four-year career with a bang. Emerick is batting .281 on the season, but has a hit in twelve of his last fifteen games. Over those games, Emerick is batting .351 with ten runs scored, fifteen RBI, four doubles, two triples and two home runs.

Ranked Teams
With a three-game series against likely No. 1 ranked Cal State Fullerton on the schedule for next weekend, it is time to look at UCSB's record against ranked opponents. UCSB has played four games against ranked teams this season. In those four games, UCSB has tallied a 3-1 record. The Gauchos took on Cal Poly in a three-game series from March 10-12 when Poly was ranked No. 24 in the nation. UCSB defeated the Mustangs 8-7 in game one before falling 6-2 in game two. The Gauchos captured the series win with another 8-7 victory in game three. UCSB was back at it again on Tuesday against No. 22 UCLA. The Gauchos ran its record against ranked opponents to 3-1 with the 11-8 victory. Junior Chris Valaika is batting .389 (7-18) in the four games against ranked opponents. Sophomore Alden Carrithers is batting four-for-seven (.571) in the games with four runs scored, a home run and an RBI. Freshman Matt Clark also has a hit in each of the four games.

Probable Gaucho Starters
C - Chris McMurray - Has an RBI in each of his last two games played
1B - Robbie Blauer - Batted three-for-nine in the UCI series
2B - Alden Carrithers - Has two home runs in his last two games
3B - Shane Carlson - Has a hit in four of his last five games
3B - Matt Clark - Had a three RBI double against UCLA
SS - Chris Valaika - Has an eight-game hit streak headed into the weekend
LF - Brian Lee - Is one of five Gauchos with at least one double, triple and home run
CF - Matt Emerick - Has a hit in 12 of his last 15 games; homered against UCLA
RF - Mario Lewis - Batting .500 (3-6) over last two games; homered against UCLA
OF - Brian Gump - Batted one-for-two with a run scored in game three against UCI
RHP - Andy Graham - 3-5, 5.65 ERA
LHP - Jeff Braun - 1-1, 3.33 ERA
RHP - Bryan Fleming - 2-5, 4.89 ERA or RHP - Brian Tracy - 2-6, 5.30 ERA

Scouting the Matadors
CSUN, coached by Steve Rousey, is 18-20 overall and 2-6 in the Big West. The Matadors are coming off a 1-1 series split with Long Beach State. Game three of the three-game series was called and postponed while the game was knotted at three. CSUN defeated the Dirt Bags by a count of 4-3 before falling 5-1 in game two. Leading hitters for CSUN are sophomore Brett Blumenthal (.348, 2 HR, 23 RBI), junior Steve Lemmon (.326, 3 HR, 16 RBI) and junior Jorge Andrade (.318, 3 HR, 12 RBI). CSUN's weekend rotation is slated to be junior right-hander Craig Baker (5-5, 3.10 ERA), sophomore right-hander Chuckie Fick (3-6, 5.27 ERA) and Sunday's starter is freshman right-hander Edwin Quirarte (2-5, 5.79 ERA).

Series Record
UCSB leads the all-time series between the two teams 53-51.

The Brontsema File
2006 marks the 25th year of head coach Bob Brontsema's involvement in the UCSB baseball program. He is now in his 13th season as head coach, after ten years as an assistant and two as a player. Brontsema's career record is 339-340 (.499). 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 Tournament 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 career win number 300 with the 6-1 victory over San Jose State on February 13th, 2005.

What's Up Next?
After the three-game series with CSUN, UCSB will continue conference action when it hosts Cal State Fullerton for a three-game series starting on Friday, May 5. Fullerton has found itself in the Top-25 virtually all year, and has reached the top in the past few weeks. Entering this week, CSF is ranked No. 1 according to Baseball American and No. 2 according to Collegiate Baseball Newspaper. Game one is scheduled for a 2 p.m. start, game two is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game three is scheduled for 1 p.m.