With the 2007 baseball season coming to an end, the Gauchos must unfortunately say goodbye to one of the most consistent hitters in school history – senior first baseman Robbie Blauer.
After two years at Orange Coast College, Blauer immediately made his mark upon transferring to UCSB. With two hitting streaks of at least eight games in his first season as a Gaucho, Blauer let it be known that he was one of the best hitters in the conference. He would finish the 2006 season with a .332 batting average, 11 doubles, two home runs, 30 walks and 29 RBI. As a result of this performance, Blauer earned Second Team All-Big West honors.
“We have had a lot of good first basemen come through here over my time here,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “He is certainly in the top class. The difference is that he has the power to get on base and drives in runs.”
The Huntington Beach native opened the 2007 season with hits in 23 straight games, which extended his two-season streak to 24 games. After finally having his streak broken, he recorded at least one hit in six of UCSB’s next eight games. It was against Cal State Northridge where Blauer once against started another lengthy hitting streak, this time lasting 22 games until the season’s end.
“He is probably one of the best hitters I have ever played with,” sophomore outfielder Brian Gump said. “He has a very high level of consistency.”
With the conclusion of the 2007 season and the Big West awards on their way, Blauer is certain to receive some sort of accolades. Blauer struck out only 11 times in 211 at bats, on his way to an amazing .480 on base percentage. The first baseman ended the season with a .398 batting average, to go along with 84 hits, 17 doubles, 37 walks and a team-high .555 slugging percentage. His batting average and on-base percentage both lead the Big West, while Blauer’s 43 RBI ranked first on the Gauchos and tied for eight in the conference. Despite all the success, Blauer is quick to give credit to the teammates that surround him in the lineup.
“[I got] a lot of help from my team,” Blauer said. “I can’t do it without a guy like [junior outfielder Mike] Zuanich hitting behind me, and [junior outfielder Chris] Fox and [junior second baseman Patrick] Rose getting on base in front of me.”
Once the rest of the conference realized that Blauer’s 2006 season was no fluke, pitchers adjusted and made his job just a little bit harder. Blauer was intentionally walked nine times, the majority of which came in the latter half of the season.
“I take it as a sign of respect, but I want to hit,” Blauer said. “It’s hard [for them to walk me] when there are guys like Zuanich hitting behind me.”
The next step for Blauer is to hopefully follow in the footsteps of former teammates like Chris Valaika and Andy Graham, and get a chance to play pro baseball. Despite his gaudy numbers, Blauer is not considered a lock to get drafted due to his small stature for his position and lack of speed. No matter what the scouts think though, Blauer’s coaches and teammates know that he has the skills to succeed on the next level.
“Anybody who gets him will be lucky,” Brontsema said. “He has got some things against him and he’s small for a first baseman. Because of that, he won’t go in a very high round, but he’s a very special player. He is as good a hitter as you are going to find.”
With his collegiate career now finished, Blauer is confident that new doors will be opened and he will get a chance to show what he can do.
“I just want to get drafted, and play,” Blauer said. “I want to see how long I can go on. It really doesn’t matter where I go, I just want to get the chance to play.”