April 30, 2001
This Week In Gaucho Baseball (TWIGB)
Tuesday, May 1, 5 pm - at Long Beach State
Friday, May 4, 2 pm - Long Beach State*
Saturday-Sunday, May 5-6, 1 pm - Long Beach State*
When They Were Good...
At 32-11 overall and 7-2 in the Big West, fresh off a sweep of Pacific and in the midst of a 20-4 run since March 18, the UCSB baseball team cracked the Baseball America Top 25 rankings, and enters the week ranked 25th in the nation. This is the first time the Gauchos have been ranked since 1996, which was also the last time UCSB advanced to NCAA Regional play. UCSB has equaled its 1996 win total and locked up head coach Bob Brontsema's second 30-win season, the school's second since 1992. UCSB's last 40-win campaign was 1990, which also marks its second most recent Regionals appearance.
They Were Very, Very Good
The goings are good for the Gauchos these days. In its weekend sweep of Pacific, UCSB got nine, eight and nine innings from its starting trio (Garcia, Ogle, Bullard) which gave up one, two and zero earned runs in the three games. Bullard's performance was good for Big West Pitcher of the Week. UCSB also took home Player of the Week honors, as second baseman Chad Peshke bagged the award for his 7-for-11, four-double, seven-run series. The Gauchos made just one error on the weekend. But wait, there's more...UCSB hitters hold spots 1, 3, 4, 6, 7 and 9 on the Big West top ten for batting average...The Gauchos lead the conference in team hitting, scoring, hits, doubles, triples, RBI, slugging and on-base percentage...Nine of UCSB's regulars are hitting over .300, with six of them over .375...Right fielder Ryan Spilborghs has a school record-tying 22-game hitting streak going...Without a ten-game winner since 1991, the UCSB pitching staff currently has three men (Garcia, Ogle, Bullard) with seven or more wins...And the team ERA of 4.09 is the best since 1984.
Pitching, Pitching, Pitching...
The Gauchos got three brilliant performances from their starting pitchers this weekend. Friday, James Garcia (8-1, 2.71) held Pacific to one run on six singles in his third complete game of the year and best outing at UCSB. He also struck out a career-high 11 men for the third time this year and walked none. Saturday, Rylie Ogle (9-2, 3.57) returned after missing his start last weekend due to a sore shoulder and won going away, limiting the opponents to three hits and two runs. He fanned seven Tigers and walked one. Sunday, Jim Bullard's performance was his best as Gaucho as well as good enough for Big West Pitcher of the Week honors. He, too, threw a complete game, using just 88 pitches to hold the Tigers to one unearned run on six hits while striking out six and walking one. In their eight Big West starts, the three men are a combined 6-1 with a 3.36 ERA.
Senior closer Jamie Gonzales has been coming through in a big way for UCSB. He is 1-1 with a 3.91 ERA and six saves. Better yet are Gonzales' numbers since March 16. In ten appearances, the Las Vegas native has thrown 11 innings and allowed just three unearned runs on nine hits. He has struck out 12 batters and walked only two, notching a win and four saves. Better still have been his last two outings. In Big West games at Sac State and vs. Pacific, Gonzo has a win and a save and since giving up a single upon entering the game at Sacramento, he has retired 11 straight batters.
Bob Brontsema returns for his eighth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 208-202 (.507). Brontsema's 200th win came April 7 vs. UC Riverside, a 7-2 triumph. UCSB's best record under Brontsema came in 1996, when it went 32-20 overall and 14-7 in Big West games, good for an NCAA Regionals appearance. With his 28-25 finish in 2000, Brontsema has posted two straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.
Gaucho Baseball: Who's Next?
It's not the California Lottery, but it's still pretty darn exciting. UCSB plays at Long Beach State Tuesday before hosting the 49ers in a Big West series this weekend. Long Beach is 29-15 overall and 6-3 after losing two out of three to Cal State Northridge last weekend. The 49ers will throw Jason Berni (2-0, 7.45) Tuesday. Matt Paz (6-5, 3.76) and Nate Beucler (3-0, 3.06) will go Friday and Saturday, while the Sunday man has not yet been named. Jeff Jones (.373, 15 doubles, six home runs, 46 RBI) and Jeremy Reed (.349, 11 doubles, 30 RBI, 43 runs) lead the offense.