For senior right-handed pitcher Greg Davis, attending UCSB was never a question. Ever since his uncle, a UCSB alumni, introduced him to Santa Barbara, Davis knew he found the perfect match.
“I wanted to go to school here regardless of baseball,” Davis said. “I came to a camp here to check out the school, see the coaches and hopefully get noticed.”
That night, Associate Head Coach Tom Myers called Davis and offered him a scholarship, an offer Davis immediately accepted.
Davis, a native of Huntington Beach, Calif., began his baseball career at the age of four in his local little league.
“It was T-ball and I remember I was too young,” Davis said. “My parents told them I was five so I could play with my brother and somehow they let me play.”
Once he began pitching at the age of six, Davis never gave up the craft, leading Edison High School to the playoffs his senior year.
Denny Chapman, his best friend’s father and longtime childhood coach, played a large part in Davis’ baseball career.
Although they did not influence or push him to play baseball, Davis’ parents have provided him with much support throughout his career.
“They’ve given me all the support I could ever need,” Davis said. “It’s my senior year so they’re pretty much coming up every game. My parents were never big baseball fans, but they obviously love it now.”
With a support system established with his parents and teammates at UCSB, Davis has flourished thus far in the season, holding a 3-1 record, three saves and a 2.90 ERA in 31 innings pitched — the best on the team for pitchers with over 10 innings pitched.
Davis is currently the Sunday starter for the Gauchos after transitioning from the bullpen, where he spent the majority of his career.
“He’s really done a good job this year with that transition and he has proven himself and earned the spot to be a starter,” senior pitcher Kevin Gelinas said. “He has a great shot to win some ball games for us and be that guy we depend on for us to win the series.”
After facing a tough preseason schedule, UCSB scraped by with a 12-11 record on the season. Perhaps their most impressive performance thus far was an 8-3 victory over #23 Oregon State on March 27, a game in which Davis received the win after pitching 5.1 innings and allowing no earned runs.
“In the four years I’ve been here, I’d have to say it’s the best chemistry we’ve had. Everybody gets along really well,” Davis said. “Our chemistry has really helped and going into conference, that is going to carry us a little more.”
Myers noted that although Davis for the most part is a quiet kid, he also has a fiery side to him.
“He channels his aggression in the right way, because he is very aggressive when he is on the mound,” Myers said. “His early success has been correlated with that because he goes out and he attacks hitters, and that is a byproduct of why he is doing well.”
With the Gauchos set to begin conference play this weekend, Davis and the rest of the Gauchos have one clear goal in mind: get to the postseason.
“I’m in my fourth year here and we haven’t made the postseason yet. That’s really our main focus,” Davis said. “We’re always taking it one step at a time and one game at a time, so hopefully we can make that happen.”
An economics and accounting major here at UCSB, Davis hopes to continue his baseball career next year in the minor leagues. If not, he plans to follow in his parent’s footsteps and become an accountant.
“He has command of three pitches and sometimes four. He is a big physical kid, and when pros come to evaluate pitchers, they look for bodies like his,” Myers said. “If he continues to have success in the Big West conference, I feel he’ll get a chance to play at the next level.”
Clearly leaving his mark on coaches and teammates, Davis appears to be on a path of success regardless of what professional field he chooses.
Davis and the UCSB baseball team begin Big West play Friday when they host rival Cal Poly for a three-game series. The first pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday, a game in which Davis is scheduled to start.