This afternoon at 2 p.m., sophomore pitcher Steve Morlock will square off against senior right-hander Jacob Barrack for the first in an alternating three-game set this weekend with the first game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, Saturday’s game at Pepperdine and Sunday’s contest back home at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
At 4-3, and with Pepperdine visiting a troubled UCSB pitching staff, there’s one thing that UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema could not want more when his team takes the field this weekend: sweet, sardonic silence.
There’s nothing like it if you’re a pitcher, and if you’re UCSB’s right-handed starting pitcher Michael Martin, it’s something you’re going to have to get used to.
Martin, two games into what should be a breakout year for the posh sophomore, has taken the boisterous voice out of opposing teams’ bats in his last two appearances for the Gauchos. Martin (2-0), simply a warrior by all accounts, has posted a taboo 0.63 ERA, allowing just six hits in 14.1 innings pitched. On Saturday at the game against typical West Coast Conference power Pepperdine (1-3), Martin will get another chance to humble a formidable offense.
“He comes out with tenacity,” junior second baseman Chris Malec said. “He’s got confidence and he works fast. His stuff isn’t overpowering, but he gets groundballs and hits his spots.”
While some pitchers will often make the mistake of dealing gas and more gas, Martin has a distinct and refined finesse, conjuring comparisons to the Greg Madduxes and Tim Hudsons of the world. Like the aforementioned greats, Martin’s greatest strength lies not in his arms, but just north in his noggin.
“It’s his mentality more than anything. We know he’s going to go out there focused every time,” senior third baseman Nate Sutton said.
Last year, Martin admittedly was more or less just happy to be here. Pitching for a Division 1 program, the freshman experience for Martin was a bit on the surreal side. This year, not only is Martin taking himself and his team much more seriously, he is also on a mission to build a r