Baseball Continues Four Game Homestand, Hosting UC Riverside Over The Weekend
May 2, 2002
* May 3 UC Riverside
R-Vasquez (4-6, 4.44) vs. R-Shappi (5-3, 3.64) 2:00 p.m.
* May 4 UC Riverside
L-Thompson (2-2, 6.36) vs. R-Smith (7-6, 3.05) 1:00 p.m.
* May 5 UC Riverside
R-Moran (1-2, 7.80) vs. R-Fernandez (3-5, 7.25) 1:00 p.m.
Gauchos On The Air
KCSB 91.9 FM will carry four more Gaucho baseball games for live broadcast.
May 17 vs. Sacramento State May 24-26 vs. Cal Poly
Broadcast times will begin five minutes before game times.
Returning To Big West Action
UC Santa Barbara (17-26, 3-9 BWC) returns to Big West Conference action this weekend after a bye-week hosting UC Riverside May 3-5. After facing the top four Big West teams in consecutive weekends-Cal State Northridge, UC Irvine, Long Beach St. and Cal State Fullerton-the Gauchos will play the Big West teams in the lower-half of the Conference. The Gauchos are coming off a wind-blown 18-13 loss to UCLA on Tuesday. Both teams combined to use 15 pitchers, who surrendered 16 extra-base hits-seven for home runs, on a windy day at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
About The Highlanders
UC Riverside(24-21, 4-8 BWC) are in their inaugural season in the conference and in it's second season as a Division I program. The Highlanders are guided under the tutelage of long time Head Coach, Jack Smitheran (29th season, 893-661-3). Smitheran notched his 1,000th career win last month against San Deigo, and was featured in the April 1, 2002 issue of Sports Illustrated's Faces in the Crowd. The Highlanders went 1-2 against Pacific last weekend. Offensively, UC Riverside is batting .286 as a team, which is the second lowest average in the conference. The hitters to watch in the Highlander line-up are left fielder Adam Seuss (.376, 68H, 15 2B, 36 R, 36 RBI) and third baseman Tony Festa (.375, 60 H, 30 R, 29 RBI). The pitching staff has an ERA of 4.98, led by junior Chris Smith (7-6, 3.05, 89 K, 103.1 IP) and freshman A.J. Shappi (5-3, 3.64, 58 K, 81.2 IP).
Gaucho Probable Starters
1B * Josh McCanne * Hit his fourth homer of the year, clearing the trees in left, vs. UCLA. 2B * Chris Malec * Has seven RBI in his last two games, nine in last three. SS * Dave Licht * has seven hits, six runs scored and six RBI in last three games.. 3B * Nate Sutton * Second on team with 25 walks. Batting .322 with runners on base. LF * Matt Wilkerson * Leads team with six stolen bases. Second on team with 38 runs. CF * Andy Campanella * Back after missing eight games with hamstring troubles. RF * Ryan Spilborghs * Has had three 5-RBI games. Has 18 multi-hit games, 14 single-hit. C * Taylor Vogt * Has started last eight games for the Gauchos. DH * Blair Havens * Back in lineup after being cleated in the knee against USC. RHP * Matt Vasquez * Has not won in last nine appearances, including seven starts. RHP * Sean Thompson * Looking ot regain early season sucess after a few rough outings. RHP * Matt Moran * Pushed into starting duties due to injuries.
They Call Him Coach
Bob Brontsema is in his ninth season as Gaucho skipper. He owns a career record of 233-234 (.499). Brontsema is coming off his best coaching season at UCSB guiding the Gauchos to a 40-17 record, good for the best single season winning percentage (.702) at UCSB since 1986. The 40 wins were the most by a UCSB team since 1990. For his efforts, Brontsema was named Big West Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. Brontsema has posted three straight over-.500 campaigns, the school's first such achievement since 1992.
Gauchos On The Mend
The Gauchos have been without the services of several key players due to injuries. However, several of the wounded are returning to action after lengthy periods of inactivity. The Gauchos will get a desperately needed boost to their pitching staff, as senior James Garcia (2-3, 6.57, 33 K, 37 IP) and junior James Dayley (1-2, 8.89, 26 K, 26.1 IP) have been cleared to return. Garcia, who has been out due to shoulder and ankle problems, has resumed throwing in practice and may see some innings in relief in the Riverside series. Dayley, who has not pitched since, March 13 due to back problems, has also began throwing in practice and may also see some action in relief against Riverside. Center fielder Andy Campanella returned to the lineup against UCLA after missing the previous eight games due to a nagging hamstring injury that has plagued the senior from Toluca Lake, Calif., all season long. Blair Havens was also back in the lineup against UCLA. The junior from Los Alamitos, Calif., was inactive for the Westmont game after being cleated in the knee a day earlier against USC. Normally in left field, Havens was inserted into the designated hitter spot on Tuesday against the Bruins.
Wearing It Into The Record Books
It is not a good idea to pitch inside to the Gauchos. UCSB has had problems getting out of the way from wayward inside pitches, leading the Big West with 78 hit-by-pitches in 43 games. With twelve more games to play, two Gauchos, Josh McCanne and Andy Campanella, have already tied the UCSB single-season record with 14 plunks. Right beind the two is Chris Malec with 13 beanings. Malec's 13 hit-by-pitches is good for fifth-all time for freshman in the Big West.
Bomb Record For A New Guy
Matt Wilkerson has hit a few home runs in his brief career at UCSB. 14 so far to be exact. The 6-4 outfielder/designated hitter smacked four homers in his last three games to set a new freshman record for homers in a season at UCSB. The Trabuco Hills, Calif., native hit his 11th of the year Wednesday the previous week against USC, and hit two more the next day against Westmont, to tie Jared Janke, who hit 13 in 1993. Wilkerson broke the record with a opposite field blast to right center, in the second inning against UCLA. Wilkerson has hit four round-trippers against UCLA including a three-home run showing on February 26. Wilkerson, who's homers come in bunches, has three multi-homer games this season with the third multi-homer game coming against Cal State Northridge. The 14 home runs also ties him with Phil Nevin for the all-time Big West freshman mark.
Another New Guy Knockin 'Em Into The Books
Second baseman Chris Malec is another Gaucho freshman putting an assault on the Gaucho and Big West record books. Malecs' 13 hit-by-pitches is second all-time at UCSB and his 48 RBI is four behind Phil Nevin for sixth-all time for freshmen in the Big West. Malec would need nine more RBI in his last 12 games to be second in the Big West. At his current pace, he is averaging 1.11 RBI per-game.
Could We Play These Guys More Often?
UCSB wishes it could schedule more games with Westmont. In the two meetings with the Warriors, the Gauchos have trounced the local Montecito College, by scores of 16-5 and 14-3. The Gauchos scored a run in every single inning in the first meeting, for the first time since 1985, against Chapman College. In the second game, eight of the nine offensive starters for the Gauchos got a base hit. In both games, freshman righty Eric Posthumus (4-1, 6.27) was on the mound to get the win. The Gauchos pounded out 31 hits in 80 at-bats in those two games, good for a .388 average.
Huntington Beach Boy
After a season behind four-year regular at shortstop, Jeff Bannon, Dave Licht has made the most of his opportunities. Beginning the season as the second-string shortstop, the senior from Huntington Beach, Calif., has earned a permanent spot in the starting lineup with his hitting. Licht is batting a solid .297 and is third on the team with 35 runs scored. Licht has been the hottest Gaucho batter of late, batting .455 (10-for-22) in his last six games. His hot hitting is more remarkable considering the fact that five of the last six games have come against Cal State Fullerton, USC and UCLA. Licht continued to swing the bat well against UCLA, reaching base 5-out of-6 times, including three hits, four runs, three RBI, a triple and this third homer of the season. The Long Beach City College transfer missed hitting for the cycle by a double. The four runs made it the third time he has done so this season.
The One To Lead Them
Junior Ryan Spilborghs is the wheel that makes the Gauchos turn. The lone offensive starter from the 2001 team, is also the most dangerous hitter in the UCSB arsenal. "Spilly" as he is known to teammates, coaches and friends, leads the Gauchos and is among the leaders in the Big West, in several offensive categories. Despite being carefully pitched to, The Santa Barbara High School product is still batting .360 with 12 home runs, leading the team with 50 runs, 50 RBI, five triples, 32 walks, a .674 slugging percentage, and a .471 on-base percentage to name a few. Spilborghs is also among the leaders in the Big West in several of the same categories including total bases (2nd with 112), runs scored and RBI (both 2nd). Base runners should also be warned, Spilborghs also has a pretty good arm, as evidenced by four assists from his right field position, including seven in his previous year.
Offense By Grade
Seniors: .267 (90-337) 5 HR 74 R 46 RBI Junior : .296 (171-577) 18 HR 123 R 108 RBI Sophomore: .272 (69-254) 2 HR 47 R 40 RBI Freshman: .316 (115-363) 22 HR 72 R 99 RBI
"Lose The Chew" Day
The Saturday game against UC Riverside will be "Lose The Chew" day. Sponsored by the Cancer Center of Santa Barbara, Doug Harvey, a former Major League umpire of 31 years, and the voice of Major League Baseball's You Make the Call series, will be speaking before the game to both teams and to some 500 local Youths, about the harmful effects of spit tobacco.
After the Riverside series, the Gauchos head up north along the I-5, to take on Pacific for three games from May 10-12. The following weekend, the Gauchos will return home for their last home series with Sacramento State, May 17-19, before concluding their season the next weekend at Cal Poly.
Big West Standings (5/2/02)
Conf. Overall Cal State Northridge 12-3 32-13 UC Irvine 9-3 28-18 Cal State Fullerton 10-5 29-15 Long Beach State 8-4 27-15 Cal Poly 9-6 24-23-1 Pacific 5-7 24-17-1 UC Riverside 4-8 24-21 UC Santa Barbara 3-9 17-26 Sacramento State 0-15 16-27
More Gaucho News And Notes
* Ryan Spilborghs is the lone returning starter from2001 on the field for the Gauchos. UCSB had nine players drafted off last years 40-17 team.
* Gaucho freshman Chris Malec and Matt Wilkerson were teammate last year as seniors at Santa Margarita High School. The gruesome twosome were coached by Tip Lefebvre, brother of former Dodger and major league manager Jim Lefebvre.
* UCSB scored in every inning in their 16-5 win over Westmont. The last time that happenned was against Chapman College in 1985.
* The Gauchos scored 12 runs in the fifth inning against Creighton, in a 23-10 win on Feb. 23. UCSB also had 25 hits in that game.
* Josh McCanne hit a walk-off grandslam with two outs in the ninth, in the Gauchos 8-4 victory over Loyola Marymount, for their first win of the season on February 1.
* Ryan Spilborghs had a 35-game hitting streak in 2001. Earlier in 2002, Spilborghs had a 12-game streak. Spilborghs leads the Big-West with 39 runs scored.
* In 2001, James Garcia became the first Gaucho to win 10 games since Santa Clara pitching coach Tom Myers did so for UCSB in 1991. Despite Garcia's 6.39 ERA, opposing hitters are batting just .230 against him this year,
* Three teams (UCSB, Cal State Fullerton and Long Beach State) made the NCAA regionals from the Big West last year, with Fullerton advancing to the College World Series in Omaha.
* Nine Gauchos were drafted off the 2001 team. Jared Schumaker (5th, St. Louis), Jim Bullard (9th, Chicago, AL), Jamie Gonzales (12th, Detroit), Dave Molidor (14th, Cincinnati), Tyler Von Schell (15th, San Francisco), Jeff Bannon (18th, Cincinnati), Chad Peshke (33rd, Cleveland) and Jed Stringham (36th, Detroit).
* Oakland Athletic Barry Zito pitched his freshman season at UCSB before transfering to Pierce JC and then finishing at USC. Current Texas Ranger second baseman, Mike Young, was a teammate of Zito's at UCSB in 1997.