The Schedule (All Times PDT)
Friday, May 31
Game 1 – (1) Stanford vs. (4) Sacramento State, 1 PM
Game 2 – (2) UC Santa Barbara vs. (3) Fresno State, 7 PM
Saturday, June 1
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 PM
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 PM
Sunday, June 2
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 12 PM
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 PM
Monday, June 3
Game 7 – Winner Game 6 vs. Loser Game 6, TBA (if necessary)
All games at Stanford's Sunken Diamond
The Regional Field
(1) Stanford (41-11)
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Cardinal: 20-30 (last meeting: 2010)
Stanford streak / last 10: Won 2 / 7-3
Stanford RPI: 10
(2) UC Santa Barbara (45-9)
UCSB RPI: 21
UCSB streak / last 10: Won 1 / 8-2
(3) Fresno State (38-14-1)
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Bulldogs: 38-30 (last meeting: 2018)
FS streak / last 10: Won 7 / 9-1
FS RPI: 34
(4) Sacramento State (39-23)
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Hornets: 32-26-2 (last meeting: 2018)
Sac State streak / last 10: Won 6 / 8-2
Sac State RPI: 117
UCSB Back in the NCAA Tournament
After a two-year hiatus, UC Santa Barbara is back in the NCAA Tournament where it made a run to the College World Series for the first time in program history in 2016. After clinching the Big West title on the final day of the regular season, the Gauchos were selected as the No. 2 seed in the Stanford Regional hosted by Stanford at Klein Field at Sunken Diamond. This is the fourth NCAA Tournament appearance in seven years for the Gauchos (2013, 2015, 2016, 2019), the most in any seven-year stretch in program history, and 12th appearance all-time. No stranger to Sunken Diamond, this will be the fourth regional appearance at Stanford for UCSB after playing there in 1983, 1987 and 1996. The 1983 team came within a win of advancing to the College World Series.
The 64-team NCAA Tournament is divided into 16 regional brackets, with four teams in each regional. The four teams play each other in a double-elimination format until there is one team left. That team advances to a Super Regional against the winner of another regional bracket in a best-of-three series. The eight winners of the Super Regionals advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The winner of the Stanford Regional will face off against the winner of the Starkville Regional, featuring the host and No. 6 national seed Mississippi State, (2) Miami, (3) Central Michigan, and (4) Southern University.
The entirety of the Stanford Regional will be televised live on the ESPN family of networks. Both of Friday's games have been confirmed for WatchESPN (ESPN3), with remaining contests to be determined. As always, UCSBGauchos.com will carry a live audio broadcast of each Gaucho baseball game, with Assistant Director of Baseball Operations Kevin Cannon on the call.
Postseason Play Under Checketts
This is the fourth trip to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Andrew Checketts, who is in his eighth season at the helm of the Gauchos. In just his second year in 2013, Checketts brought the Gauchos back to the regionals for the first time since 2001, snapping the second longest playoff drought in program history. That was the beginning of three regional appearances in four years for UCSB, featuring a first-ever hosting bid at Lake Elsinore in 2015 and an unforgettable run to the College World Series in 2016 after winning the Nashville Regional as a No. 2 seed and upsetting Super Regional host Louisville on a memorable walk-off grand slam by Sam Cohen.
A Brief History of the Gauchos in the Postseason
The Gauchos have an overall record of 13-23 all-time in the postseason and have appeared in a regional 12 times including this year. Previous trips occurred in 1952, 1972, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2013, 2015 and 2016. Only four other coaches besides Checketts have led UCSB to the NCAA Tournament: Roy Engle ('52), Dave Gorrie ('72), Al Ferrer ('83, '86, '87, '90), and Bob Brontsema ('96, 01'). UCSB is 7-6 in the playoffs under Checketts, accounting for more than half of its all-time wins, and tallied six of those in 2016.
2019 in Brief
Picked to finish fifth in the Big West Preseason Poll, expectations were low after two sub-.500 seasons in 2017 and 2018. After starting 2-2 out of the gate, UCSB went on a tear and never looked back, tying a program record from 1984 with 12 straight wins, highlighted by wins over USC, Pepperdine and a series sweep at Tulane. The end of March saw a "tough" stretch where the Gauchos went 4-3 before rattling off a 13-game winning streak to break the record, featuring a sweep over then-No. 15 and conference foe UC Irvine at home. A brief stumble with its first series loss of the year at UC Riverside at the end of April was quickly forgotten with another 13-game winning streak. UCSB's success this season has been spearheaded by a well-balanced offense, outstanding starting pitching and dependable relievers. The Gauchos led the Big West in batting average, on base percentage, slugging percentage, runs scored, hits, doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases. On the pitching side of the ledger they paced the league in ERA, strikeouts, fewest hits allowed and saves.
Party Like its 1986
Santa Barbara won its third ever Big West title on Saturday and first since 1986, snapping a 33-year drought. Needing just one win entering a three-game series with rival Cal Poly, the Gauchos kept it interesting by dropping the first two before clinching the title in the regular season-finale.
Checketts Named Big West Coach of the Year
UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts was named Big West Coach of the Year after leading the Gauchos to its first Big West title in 33 years with a 19-5 record against the Big West and a 45-9 record overall. It is the first Coach of the Year honor for Checketts who joins Bob Brontsema ('96, '01) and Al Ferrer ('83, '86) as the only other Coach of the Year recipients in UCSB history.
Gauchos Set Record with 13 All-Big West Selections
Junior catcher Eric Yang was named the Big West Field Player of the Year while lefty starter Rodney Boone was recognized as the Big West Freshman Pitcher of the Year to highlight a record 13 All-Big West selections for Santa Barbara. Yang, Andrew Martinez, Thomas Rowan, Tommy Jew, Armani Smith, Jack Dashwood and Michael McGreevy made up seven First Team selections for UCSB while Boone, Ben Brecht and Chris Lincoln landed on the Second Team. Jason Willow, McClain O'Connor and Tevin Mitchell received Honorable Mention.
For the Record
Speaking of records, it has been a record setting year for the Gauchos. With 45 wins thus far, UCSB has set a program record for most wins against Division I opponents, surpassing the 43 wins set by the 2016 Gauchos. The most wins overall in single season history is 46, set in 1986. UCSB has also set school records for the longest winning streak (13, twice), most triples (29) and saves (19) and are set to break a few more records including winning percentage (currently at .833) and strikeouts (491).
The Gauchos reached new heights in 2019, seeing its highest ranking ever when it reached No. 4 in the Collegiate Baseball Poll. The ranking surpassed its previous high of No. 5, achieved by the 1986 Gauchos. After dropping two out of three to close the year, UCSB saw a slight dip in the latest polls, coming in at No. 8 in Collegiate Baseball, No. 13 in the USA Today/Coaches Poll and Baseball America, No. 14 in NCBWA and No. 19 in D1baseball.com.
Big West Goes Big
At least one team from the Big West Conference has advanced to the Super Regionals in each of the past six seasons. Cal State Fullerton ('13, '15, '17, '18), UC Irvine ('14), UCSB ('16), and Long Beach ('17). Fullerton missed the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991.
Yang Named a Semifinalist for Catcher of the Year
Junior catcher Eric Yang was named one of 14 semifinalists for the Buster Posey National Collegiate Catcher of the Year award on May 17 by the Greater Wichita Area Sports Commission. Yang has enjoyed a breakout season for UCSB, currently leading the team with a .383 batting average to go along with seven home runs and 45 RBIs. The West Hills native has been excellent behind the dish as well, throwing out 34.5 percent (10-of-29) of would-be-base stealers while boasting a .995 fielding percentage.
No Place Like Home
Historically great at home in the Checketts era, the Gauchos had another dominant year at Caesar Uyesaka in 2019, going 27-3 (.900 winning percentage), the fourth best mark in the country. UCSB won a program record 19 consecutive home games (Mar. 22-May 14) this season and boast a .706 winning percentage (170-70-3) at home under Checketts (since 2012).
UCSB is not too shabby on the road either, going 18-6 this year, with sweeps at Tulane, CSUN and Hawai'i. Its road winning percentage of .750 ranks seventh best in the country this season and the Gauchos have won seven straight on the road, the fifth longest active streak in the nation.
Santa Barbara owned the best record in the country for much of the season and now rank second behind UCLA with an .833 winning percentage (45-9). UCSB is among the national leaders in several categories including leading the country in sac flies (44) while ranking 3rd in triples (29), 4th in WHIP (1.16), 5th in walks allowed per nine innings (2.95), 6th in ERA (3.21), 7th in slugging percentage (.501) and strikeout-to-walk ratio (3.11), 11th in hits allowed per nine innings (7.47) and 19th in fielding percentage (.979).
Swing for the Fences
UCSB is 36-2 when hitting at least one home run in a game and just 9-7 when failing to hit one. Long ago the Gauchos surpassed their home run total of 2018 (34) and have hit 66 to date, ranking 33rd in the nation. Thomas Rowan recently went on a tear to take over the team lead with 13 home runs while Tommy Jew and Armani Smith have each hit 11. Andrew Martinez has hit eight while Eric Yang has seven and 12 different Gauchos have hit at least one. The 66 home runs as a team ranks 3rd all-time in UCSB history and is closing in on the record of 73, set in, you guessed it, 1986.
The trio of weekend starting pitchers for the Gauchos, all left-handers, are a combined 27-3 with a 2.91 ERA, while the team ERA of 3.21 is tops in the Big West and 6th overall in the nation. Primarily the Friday starter throughout the season, Ben Brecht led the Big West with 101 strikeouts to go with a 10-1 record and a 3.76 ERA while Saturday starter Jack Dashwood has been even more dominant with a 2.17 ERA to go with his 9-2 record and 90 strikeouts. Freshman sensation Rodney Boone is a perfect 8-0 with a 2.78 ERA and wrapped up the most recent Big West Pitcher of the Week honor after helping the Gauchos clinch the conference title against Cal Poly on Saturday.
What a Relief
The UCSB bullpen has been lights out for much of the season due in large part to freshman Michael McGreevy and junior Chris Lincoln. McGreevy has a team-high 28 appearances, and ranks second in the Big West with a 2.01 ERA. He has six saves to go along with 51 strikeouts in 58.1 innings. Lincoln, a starter last season, leads the conference and is 11th in the nation with 13 saves, and is just one away from tying the UCSB single-season record.
3rd Inning Magic
UCSB outscores its opponents by a wide margin in the third inning, 70-28, typically the second time around the order. The 70 runs are by far the most when breaking down inning scoring, with 47 runs in the sixth the next closest. The Gauchos have outscored their opponents in every inning this season.
Since Andrew Checketts' hiring in 2011, no Big West program has had more players drafted than UCSB (39). That total includes a program-record 10 draftees in 2015, headlined by No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate (TEX) and fifth-rounder Justin Jacome (MIA). In 2016, Shane Bieber was drafted in the 4th Round (CLE) and won 11 games for the Indians last season as a rookie.
New Look Coaching Staff
Over the summer, UCSB welcomed three new coaches to the staff. Former Washington assistant and recruiting coordinator Donegal Fergus signed on as the Gauchos associate head coach while former Saint Mary's assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Matt Fonteno joins UCSB in the same role. Last season's Director of Operations Dylan Jones was promoted to volunteer assistant coach, making way for new Director of Operations Emily Holland, previously at Washington.
UCSB vs. Stanford Regional Field
The No. 11 overall national seed and regional host Stanford Cardinal (41-11) is hosting an NCAA Regional for the third straight year, and 18th overall, while making its 32nd NCAA Tournament appearance. With two national titles ('87, '88) and 16 College World Series appearances, the Cardinal boast a 65-18 (.783) record at Sunken Diamond in the postseason, including a 2-0 record against UCSB. Stanford and the Gauchos have met 50 times all together with the Cardinal holding a 30-20 edge and a 2-1 series win in their last meeting in 2010. Santa Barbara last defeated Stanford in 1997.
(3) Fresno State
The Gauchos first matchup on Friday night, and No. 3 seed Fresno State Bulldogs (38-14-1) is making its 35th NCAA Tournament appearance, and first since 2012 when it was also at the Stanford Regional. Fresno State, the 2008 National Champions, is 67-74 all-time in postseason play, including a 2-0 record against UCSB. In all-time history, the Gauchos hold a 38-30 advantage over the Bulldogs and the old Big West conference foes met as recently as last season, winning one game apiece.
(4) Sacramento State
The champions of the WAC Tournament, Sacramento State Hornets (39-23), are appearing in its third ever NCAA Regional, all coming in the past six seasons. UCSB is 32-26-2 all-time against the Hornets while the two teams met as recently as last season with Sac State taking two out of three from the Gauchos.