April 28, 2008

Gauchos Face Pepperdine Wednesday, Welcome Cal State Fullerton for Crucial Three-Game Set

April 28, 2008

The Schedule
Games No. 43, 44, 45, & 46

Tuesday, April 30 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
Pepperdine at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Friday, May 2 - 2:00 p.m. (PDT)
Cal State Fullerton at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Saturday, May 3 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
Cal State Fullerton at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

Sunday, May 4 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
Cal State Fullerton at UCSB
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium

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The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara (29-13, 8-4) takes on the Pepperdine Waves for the third time this season on Wednesday afternoon. Both meetings this year resulted in lopsided wins, as UCSB won 14-0 in the first contest, while Pepperdine stormed back for a 14-3 win in the second game. From there, UCSB welcomes Cal State Fullerton (26-15, 11-4) for a three-game weekend set. The match-up pits the top two teams in the Big West Conference against each other.

This Week
UCSB takes on Pepperdine for the third time this year and for the 108th time ever. With UCSB's split against the Waves this year, Pepperdine holds the upperhand in the all-time series, 55-52. The Gauchos then welcome CS Fullerton for the first time in 2008. The Titans took two of three from UC Davis this past weekend, improving their record to 11-4 in the Big West. The 1, 2 match-up marks the second time this season UCSB has faced the top dog in the BWC, with the first time coming when UC Davis took two of three from April 11-13.

The Week That Was
The Gauchos started the week on a down note with a 7-0 loss to Cal State Northridge. Prior to the blanking, UCSB beat the Matadors in five straight games this season. From there, UCSB traveled to San Luis Obispo for a three-game conference set against Cal Poly. After dropping game one of the series, 3-2, UCSB bounced back for a pair of wins to take the series. The Gauchos won in dramatic fashion in Sunday's series finale, with a five-run rally in the ninth inning capped by right fielder Brian Gump's two-out grand slam.

The Rotation
The Gauchos will send senior Michael Martin (4-2) to the mound on Wednesday against Pepperdine. Martin has started eight games on the year and owns a 4.44 ERA. The senior has also made eight appearances out of the bullpen, pitching a total of 50.2 innings on the year, good for fourth on the team.

For the weekend, the Gauchos will turn to their dominating starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins against CS Fullerton. Sophomore ace Mike Ford (5-3) gets the ball in the series opener on Friday against the Titans. Although he picked up the loss, Ford pitched brilliantly in his last outing, allowing only three runs on six hits in 8.1 innings of work. Mario Hollands (5-2) gets the nod in game two. The redshirt freshman was masterful in his Saturday outing against Cal Poly, allowing only two runs in six innings of work. Hollands lowered his ERA to 3.12 in the process. Senior Chuck Huggins (7-1) mans the bump in the series finale. In his last outing, the Redwood City, Calif., native earned a no-decision pitching seven innings of two-run ball. Huggins allowed only six hits, while striking out six and walking one. Huggins' seven wins on the year rank him third in the entire Big West Conference.

Fantastic Ford
Mike Ford is 5-3 on the year, having allowed only 22 earned runs in 69.2 innings of work. Ford's 2.84 ERA is good for sixth among all BWC pitchers. The flame-throwing righty has struck out 59 batters on the year, an average of nearly six a game. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has pitched at least eight innings in his last three starts, including a complete game, seven-hitter against USC on 4/18.

Super Mario
Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands is coming into his own as a Gaucho. In ten starts the southpaw is 5-2 with a sterling 3.12 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif., native places within the top eight in the BWC in ERA, triples allowed (0), and home runs allowed (1). In addition, Hollands is sporting an impressive 46-to-17 strikeout to walk ratio. Amazingly, only 16 of the 66 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 seven offensive categories: Batting average (.323), slugging percentage (.488), runs (328), hits (485), RBI (302), home runs (44), and total bases (733). In addition, the Gauchos are second in the BWC in two other categories: doubles (88), amd sacrifice flies (20). The Gaucho attack has scored 328 runs in 38 games, an average of 7.8 runs scored per game.

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 38 RBI are good for second on the team.

Huggy Bear
Senior Chuck Huggins is leading the way for the Gaucho pitching staff. In his no-decision on Sunday, Huggins pitched into the seventh inning for the fifth time in 10 starts. Against USC on 4/20 Huggins tossed a complete game shutout, striking out seven and walking three. The Redwood City, Calif., native owns a 65-to-18 strikeout to walk ratio thus far. Huggins is third in the BWC in wins (7), second in opponents batting average (.226), third in strikeouts (65), fifth in hits allowed (53), and ninth in innings pitched (64.0). Opponents are batting a measily .222 with runners on against Huggins, while left-handed hitters are batting .184 in 76 at-bats.

Zooooooooo!
Senior Mike Zuanich has provided much of the power for the Gauchos thus far. The left fielder has started all 42 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 (.592), RBI (45), and home runs (12). Against Westmont and USC two weeks ago, 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 four of the BWC in four offensive categories: First in home runs (12), and sac flies (6), Third in RBI (45), and Fourth in slugging (.592).

Orange Oliver
Orange Coast College transfer Eric Oliver has been a key piece to the Gauchos' ear- ly season success. The Irvine, Calif., native has started all 42 games for the Gauchos at first base, while hitting out of the three hole. He ranks within the top five on the team in 10 different offensive categories. Oliver is seventh in the BWC in runs scored (41). The Irvine, Calif,. native has also fielded his position with ease committing only three errors in 401 chances. His .993 fielding percentage is good for eighth in the Big West Conference.

Gump The Great
Junior Brian Gump is making the most out of starting role as the Westminster, Calif., native has started in all 42 games to begin the year. The sweet-swinging lefty ranks within the top seven in the Big West Conference in an astounding eight different offensive categories: First in both plate appearances (205), and at-bats (183), Second in both runs (45), hits (68), total bases (97), and stolen bases (23), Sixth in doubles (13), and Seventh in average (.372). In Sunday's thrilling come-from-behind win, Gump smacked a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning. Gump has reached safely 41% of the time when batting leadoff. The athletic center fielder is already making a strong bid for BWC Player of the Year accolades.

Relief Corps.
Junior Matt Wade and Kyle Brown ac- counted 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 three earned runs in 16 innings of work. Junior transfer Patrick McIntyre has relished his situational role, having pitched 7.1 innings of scoreless relief. In those 7.1 innings, McIntyre has allowed only two hits, while striking out four and walking none. 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 an impressive 26-2.

Three's Company
The starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins is 21-6 on the year in 30 starts with a combined ERA of 3.10. The threesome owns an extraordinary 170-to-65 strikeout to walk ratio. The trio has pitched at least six innings of work in 23 of their 30 starts thus far.

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 (.360), and hits (58). His four triples, 58 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 .410. The left-handed hitter is feasting upon right-handed pitching, batting a solid .400 in 115 at-bats.

Red-Hot Rose
Senior third baseman Patrick Rose is the emotional leader of the Gaucho infield. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native is batting .326 on the year, with six doubles, two triples, and 20 RBI. Rose has recorded 11 multi-hit games, including three three-hit perfomances, and one four-hit effort. Rose is third on the team in on-base percentage (.420), and is second on the team in walks (19).

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 28 hits in 29 games played, with 16 runs scored and nine doubles. After missing three weeks of action with a wrist injury, DeAlba's RBI single in the ninth inning of Sunday's victory over Cal Poly ignited a five-run rally.

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.
Most recently, Brontsema earned his 400th career vic- tory at UCSB with the 5-3 win over Cal Poly last Sunday. He now owns a career .505 winning percentage while at the helm.

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