May 5, 2008

Gauchos Face Pepperdine Wednesday, Head South for Three Against Long Beach

May 5, 2008

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The Schedule
Games No. 47, 48, 49, & 50

Wednesday, May 7 - 3:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Pepperdine
at Eddy D. Field Stadium

Friday, May 9 - 6:30 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Long Beach State
at Blair Field

Saturday, May 10 - 6:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Long Beach State
at Blair Field

Sunday, May 11 - 1:00 p.m. (PDT)
UCSB at Long Beach State
at Blair Field

The Gaucho Record
UC Santa Barbara (30-16, 9-6) takes on the Pepperdine Waves for the fourth time this season on Wednesday afternoon. The first two meetings 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. Last week's match-up was much closer, with the Waves pulling out a 7-3 win. From there, UCSB travels to Long Beach (27-17, 9-6) to face the Dirtbags. As of Monday, UCSB and Long Beach are in a tie for third place in the Big West Conference.

This Week
UCSB takes on Pepperdine for the 109th time in the two program's histories. With Pepperdine's 2-1 series advantage this year, the Waves holds the upperhand in the all- time series, 56-52. The Gauchos then take on Long Beach for the first time in 2008. Most recently, the Dirtbags lost two of three against UC Davis over the weekend. The crucial three-game set will separate the cream from the crop in the Big West Conference, as both squads are in a deadlock for third place with 9-6 records.

The Week That Was
The Gauchos started the week on a down note with a 7-3 loss to Pepperdine. A six-run ninth from the Waves buried the Gauchos. From there, UCSB welcomed Cal State Fullerton for a three-game conference set. After dropping game one of the series, 7-4, UCSB bounced back on Saturday with a 10-2 win, with Mario Hollands recording his first-career complete game. Unfortunately, Sunday's rubber match did not go the Gauchos way, as Fullerton scored 11 times on 11 hits, while the Gauchos had a tough time finding their stroke, getting three-hit by Titan starter, Cory Arbiso.

The Rotation
The Gauchos will send senior Michael Martin (4-2) to the mound on Wednesday against Pepperdine. Martin has started nine games on the year and owns a 4.07 ERA. The right-hander pitched seven innings of one run ball against Pepperdine last week, but earned a no-decision.

For the weekend, the Gauchos will turn to their dominating starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins against Long Beach. Sophomore ace Mike Ford (5-3) gets the ball in the series opener on Friday against the Dirtbags. Although he earned a no-decision, Ford pitched brilliantly in his last outing, allowing only three runs on six hits in 7 innings of work. Mario Hollands (6-2) gets the nod in game two. The redshirt freshman pitched the best game of his young career, with a complete game four-hitter against the Titans on Saturday. Hollands allowed only two runs over nine frames, lowering his ERA to 2.97 in the process. Senior Chuck Huggins (7-2) mans the bump in the series finale. In his last outing, the Redwood City, Calif., native struggled, allowing seven runs in five innings of work. The usually reliable southpaw looks to regain his dominant form in his 12th start of the year on Sunday.

Fantastic Ford
Mike Ford is 5-3 on the year, having allowed only 25 earned runs in 76.2 in nings of work. Ford's 2.93 ERA is good for sixth among all BWC pitchers. The flame-throwing right-hander has struck out 63 batters on the year, an average of nearly six a game. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native has pitched at least seven innings in his last four starts, including a complete game, seven-hitter against USC on 4/18.

Super Mario
Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands is com ing off his best performance as a Gaucho. In Saturday's 10-2 win over Fullerton, the southpaw recorded a four-hit complete game, the first of his young career. In 11 starts the southpaw is 5-2 with a sterling 2.97 ERA. The El Cerrito, Calif., native places seventh in the BWC in ERA, first in triples allowed (0), and second in home runs allowed (2). In addition, Hollands is sporting an impressive 51-to-19 strikeout to walk ratio. Amazingly, only 18 of the 70 hits allowed by Mario have been for extra bases.

Huggy Bear
Senior Chuck Huggins is leading the way for the Gaucho pitching staff. Even with his loss on Sunday, Huggins ranks fourth in the BWC in wins with seven. Against USC on 4/20 Huggins tossed a complete game shutout, striking out seven and walking three. The Redwood City, Calif., native owns a 67-to-21 strikeout to walk ratio thus far. Huggins is fourth in opponents batting average (.237), fourth in strikeouts (67), and tenth in hits allowed (61). Opponents are batting a measily .242 with runners on against Huggins, while left-handed hitters are batting .193 in 83 at-bats.

Offensive Assault
UCSB is first in the Big West Conference in five offensive categories: Slugging percentage (.481), runs (346), RBI (318), home runs (49), and total bases (786). In addition, the Gau chos are second in the BWC in three other categories: batting average (.317), hits (518), and at-bats (1633). The Gaucho attack has scored 346 runs in 46 games, an average of 7.5 runs per game. Remarkably, UCSB has scored 10 or more runs in 12 games this season, including 23-run and 25-run outbursts.

Shane Brings The Pain
After making the switch from shortstop to second base to begin the year, Shane Carlson has moved back to short after sec ond 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 42 RBI are good for second on the team. Against Fullerton on Saturday, Shane went 5-for-5 with three runs scored and four-RBI. Carlson hit his fifth homer of the year in the process, which moved him into third place on the team.

Zooooooooo!
Senior Mike Zuanich has provided much of the power for the Gauchos thus far. The left fielder has started all 46 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 (.556), RBI (46), 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 five in the BWC in three offensive categories: First in home runs, second in sac flies (6), and fifth in RBI.

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 46 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 fifth in the BWC in runs scored (45), and seventh in both walks, plate appearances, and at-bats. The Irvine, Calif,. native has also fielded his position with ease committing only five errors in 435 chances.

Gump The Great
Junior Brian Gump is making the most out of starting role as the Westminster, Calif., native has started in all 46 games to begin the year. The sweet-swinging lefty ranks within the top eight in the Big West Conference in an astounding six different offensive categories: First in both plate appearances and at-bats, Second stolen bases, Fourth in hits, Fifth in runs scored, and Eighth in total bases. On 5/27 against Cal Poly Gump led a thrilling come-from-behind win by smacking a two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning. Gump is batting .475 with runners on and .359 against righties.

Three's Company
The starting rotation of Ford, Hollands, and Huggins is 18-7 on the year in 33 starts with a combined ERA of 3.30. The threesome owns an extraordinary 181-to-75 strikeout to walk ratio. Not to mention, the trio has pitched at least six innings of work in 25 of their 33 starts thus far, including four complete games: two from Ford, and one each from Hollands and Huggins. Four complete games places the Gauchos in a tie for second in the BWC in complete games with UC Davis, and one behind Long Beach (5).

The Steal Curtain
UCSB is third in stolen bases in the Big West with 72. An impressive feat consid ering UCSB recorded only 45 successful swipes all of last year. In addition, the Gauchos stolen base success rate has increased dramatically thus far, with a 79% (72-91) success rate in 2008, com pared to a 64% (45-70) rate in the 2007 campaign.

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 for the Gauchos. Fox leads the team in batting (.354), and triples (4), and is second in hits (63), and steals (18). His four triples, 63 hits, and 18 stolen bases all rank within the top ten in the BWC. With runners on, the Redondo Beach, Calif., native is batting a red-hot .420. The lefty is feasting upon right-handed pitching, batting a solid .4383 in 128 at-bats.

Red-Hot Rose
Senior third baseman Patrick Rose is the leader of the Gaucho infield. The Laguna Niguel, Calif., native upped his batting average 10 points over the weekend, and is now hitting .336. In addition, Rose has seven doubles, two triples, and 22 RBI. Rose has recorded 13 multi-hit games, including four three-hit performances, and one four- hit effort. Rose is first on the team in on-base percentage (.424), and is second on the team in walks (20).

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 thrilling 5-3 win over Cal Poly on April 27.

Get The Door, It's DeAlba
Junior transfer Jon DeAlba has had an immediate impact on the Gauchos success. After winning MVP of the Western State Conference with the Santa Barbara City College Va queros in 2007, the speedy outfielder has paid immediate dividends. The talented lefty has 29 hits in 32 games played, with 17 runs scored and nine doubles. After missing three weeks of action with a wrist injury, DeAlba's RBI single in the ninth inning of April 27th's victory over Cal Poly ignited a five-run rally.