On Four-Game Winning Streak, Gauchos Face UCR

On Four-Game Winning Streak, Gauchos Face UCR

May 13, 2009

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• The Schedule
Friday, May 15 at 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, May 16 at 2:00 p.m.
Sunday, May 17 at 1:00 p.m.
UCSB (27-19, 9-9) vs. UC Riverside (29-16, 8-10) at UCR's Riverside Sports Complex
Series record vs. the Highlanders - (15-17)
2008 season record vs. the Highlanders - (3-0)
Sunday's game broadcast live on KCSB 91.9 FM
Games available online through Gametracker
Streaming video available through bigwest.tv

• Coming Up
UCSB will travel to UC Riverside this weekend, facing the Highlanders for the second time this year. In two non-conference games on Mar. 22-23, the two teams split with UCSB winning the first game 3-2 before falling 10-1 in the second game.

• How Sweep It Is
Playing at Cal State Fullerton because of the Jesusita Fire, the Gauchos didn't let that bother them as they swept Long Beach State for the first time since 2004. Joe Gardner and Matt Valaika helped UCSB to the weekend win as they were named the Big West Pitcher and Player of the Week. Gardner pitched a complete-game, two-hit shutout and Valaika went 6-for-9 with six RBI and five runs scored in the series. It was the first Big West weekly award sweep by a pair of Gauchos since Chad Pehske and Jim Bullard did it on April 30, 2001.

• Gaucho Joe
Though Joe Gardner has been UCSB's most steady pitcher all season, he had his best game as a Gaucho vs. Long Beach State. The junior tossed a complete-game, two-hit shutout, the first two-hitter thrown by a Gaucho since Troy Kinto did so against Pacific on May 2, 1999. Gardner is 7-1 with a 3.48 ERA this season and his name is scattered throughout the Big West leaderboard. His ERA is sixth in the conference while his 68 strikeouts are third. Gardner's 82.2 innings pitched rank fifth and his .249 batting average against is eighth in the Big West. The Fremont, Calif. native has gone at least six innings in all but two of his 12 starts this year (one was a planned "staff day"). UCSB is also 10-2 in games in which Gardner starts.

• Viva Valaika
Matt Valaika, who leads the Gauchos with 13 multi-RBI games, was named the Big West Player of the Week after going 8-for-13 with six runs scored and nine RBI in four games last week - all wins. The junior second baseman doubled in each of the four games and helped UCSB to a 14-4 win in game two vs. Long Beach State by going 4-for-4, including a double and home run, with four runs scored and four RBI. Valaika has recorded a hit in 15 of his past 16 starts, including six straight. In that time, the Valencia, Calif. native is batting .426 (23-for-54) with 17 RBI, seven doubles and three home runs. Valaika is second on the team with his .340 average and 42 RBI.

• Pursuit of Perfection
The Gauchos are a perfect 16-0 when scoring nine or more runs in a game. When scoring more than 10 runs in a game, UCSB is 12-0.

• Captain E.O.
First baseman Eric Oliver leads the team with 43 RBI, tying him for sixth in the Big West. The senior has nine multi-RBI games this season, which is second on the team and his 19 multi-hit games this year top the Gauchos. Oliver has at least one hit in 12 of his past 13 games and is the only Gaucho to start all 46 games. Only four times this season has Oliver either failed to reach base, score a run or have an RBI. The Irvine, Calif. native also leads the team with a .415 average, .525 on-base percentage and .708 slugging percentage in Big West games.

• Kiss The Cook
In UCSB's four games last week, senior Steve Cook hit leadoff for the first time this season. The San Jose, Calif. native went 4-for-15 but scored five runs with a triple and two RBI. Cook is batting .313 in Big West games with a .500 slugging percentage.

• Sunday, Bloody Sunday
UCSB snapped its six-game Sunday losing streak when it scored seven runs in the eighth inning to defeat Long Beach, 11-9 this past Sunday. UCSB is now 6-7 on Sundays. The Gauchos' most successful day of the week is Friday where they are 6-3. A rundown of the other days: 1-1 on Monday; 4-3 on Tuesday; 3-0 on Wednesday; 1-0 on Thursday; and 8-5 on Saturday.

• Captain Cav-man
Infielder Ryan Cavan has a keen eye - his 30 walks lead the Big West and have helped boost his team-leading .453 on-base percentage, which is sixth in the conference. Cavan leads the Gauchos with his .351 batting average and his 16 multi-hit games are second on the squad. The Belmont, Calif. native has scored 15 runs in Big West play, second on the team.

• Not Bubba ... It's Brian Gump
Only once in his 44 starts has Brian Gump failed to reach base or record an RBI. Currently the Westminster, Calif. native is tied for third in the Big West with 53 runs scored while his 19 stolen bases are fourth in the conference. In Big West games, Gump is hitting .343 (third on the team) with a .425 on-base percentage (which is second). He and Eric Oliver have scored 19 runs in conference play, tying them for first on the team.

• Monster Mashers
UCSB's .469 slugging percentage is second in the Big West. The Gauchos' 165 extra-base hits are second in the conference to Cal Poly's 176. The Gauchos lead the conference in triples (18), are tied for second in home runs (44) and rank fourth in doubles (103).

• Score First = Win
It seems like a simple formula that when you score first, you win. When UCSB scores in the first inning, they are 13-4. When the Gauchos score first in any game, they are 18-3.

• What a Catch!
Junior catcher Marty Mullins is batting .368 in Big West games, second on the team to Eric Oliver's .415 mark. The Los Gatos, Calif. native has thrown out 18 of 45 (40%) would-be base-stealers this season.

• Get The Door, It's DeAlba
John DeAlba has hits in 17 of his past 21 games recording all 16 of his RBI in that span.

• The Bob Brontsema File
The 2009 season marks the 28th year of Head Coach Bob Brontsema's involvement with the UC Santa Barbara baseball program. With two years as a player, 10 as an assistant coach and now entering his 16th season at the helm, Brontsema has been involved in 830 Gaucho victories, far more than anyone in UCSB baseball history. In fact, he has participated in over 60 percent of all UCSB victories in school history. Entering this year, Brontsema ranks second in career wins, third in overall career winning percentage and third in career conference winning percentage. He also holds the record for most Division I wins in school history. His 16 years as Gaucho head coach give him the second longest tenure in UCSB baseball history, behind Dave Gorrie with 18 years. The dean of Big West coaches, he currently ranks first in Big West career wins amongst active Big West coaches and No. 1 in overall wins. In career conference wins, only five individuals throughout the history of the Big West surpass Brontsema.

Probable Starting Lineup

Batting No. Name Pos. Yr. 2009 Notes
1. 9 Steve Cook DH Sr. Batting .313; .500 slug. pct. in BW
2. 16 Brian Gump CF Sr. 82 total bases rank 3rd on team
3. 21 Eric Oliver 1B Sr. Team-leading 43 RBI; batting .415 in BW
4. 4 Ryan Cavan 3B Jr. His .453 OBP leads team, ranks 6th in BW
5. 8 Matt Valaika 2B Jr. Big West Player of the Week
6. 7 John DeAlba LF Sr. Hitting .333 with 12 RBI in BW games
7. 26 Marty Mullins C Jr. .368 avg in Big West games - 2nd on team
8. 22 Shane Carlson SS Sr. 5 HR are tied for 2nd on team
9. 25 Mark Haddow RF So. 5-12, 3 RBI, 2 R last weekend vs. LBSU

Probable Starting Pitchers

Friday 18 Joe Gardner RHP Jr. Big West Pitcher of the Week
Saturday 11 Mario Hollands LHP So. Picked up first win since 4/10 last week
Sunday 23 Zach Samuels RHP Sr. Slated to make his fifth start of season

• BE Great
Earlier this year UCSB Athletics unveiled the BE Great initiative. BE Great is dedicated to maximizing leadership ability, strong on-campus interaction, and general welfare for all 450 student-athletes and Intercollegiate Athletics staff at UC Santa Barbara. BE Great also focuses on personal and career development, diversity, and social awareness, along with ensuring academic success. UCSB has a 92% student-athlete graduation rate.

• The Gaucho Way
As a championship-caliber program, UCSB Athletics recognizes the responsibility that goes with it. This simply means all student-athletes, staff, and fans will behave with a champion's approach, creating a safe environment at games and events. All of those who attend, compete, or work at Gaucho events are caretakers of the passionate, exciting, and great experience UCSB is known for. This is "The Gaucho Way."

• Parking is Simple!
Getting to UCSB baseball games is easy! From Highway 217, veer right at Steck Circle onto Mesa Road, and take a left onto Stadium Road. Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is on your left, and you can park at Lot 30 which is right outside the stadium. There are two kiosks that accept cash and credit card to pay for parking.