After joining the Gauchos as a junior transfer last season from El Camino College, starting left fielder Mike Zuanich has brought the power to the middle of the order, clubbing five home runs last year before blasting 12 this season from the cleanup spot. His 12 long balls lead UCSB and are good for second in the Big West. “Zoo” also ranks first on the team with 49 RBI and a .535 slugging percentage. He had a career day against Westmont on April 15, launching three home runs in a 4-for-6 effort with 6 RBI.
After finishing second on the team in relief appearances last season as a junior, left hander Kyle Brown has established himself as the most reliable reliever out of the Gaucho bullpen in 2008. Brown boasts a 3-0 record and team-leading 2.53 ERA with one save to his credit. The south paw has struck out 17 batters in only 21 innings pitched.
Michael Martin finishes his six-year career with the Gauchos this season after redshirting the last two seasons due to injury. The versatile right hander was used in a swingman role this season, starting nine games as the team’s primary mid-week starter with 11 appearances out of the pen. The Gaucho elder statesman was instrumental to the team’s success in the month of April, limiting nationally ranked Pepperdine to one run in 14 innings over two starts.
An All-Big West Honorable Mention selection in 2007, starting center fielder Fox has picked up where he left off last season, providing speed and power out of the two hole for the Gauchos. He is tied for the team lead in batting with a .344 average and is second in hits (67) and steals (21). The El Camino College transfer had his best performance from the plate against Cal State Northridge back on March 29, racking up four RBI on four hits, including the game-winning walk-off single.
Patrick Rose has started at third base for UCSB over the past two years after joining the Gauchos as a sophomore and playing an infield reserve role. The hot corner specialist has been on a tear after getting off to a slow start this season, now tied for the team lead in batting average (.344) to go along with 15 multi-hit games. Rose is also first on the team in on-base percentage (.431).
After making the switch from the bullpen last season, Chuck Huggins went 6-0 as a starter in his first year in a Santa Barbara uniform and elected to return for his senior year despite being drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks. “Huggy Bear” has picked up right where he left off as the Gauchos’ Sunday starter, garnering a team-leading eighth win last weekend against Long Beach. The southpaw’s best start came on April 20 against USC, tossing a complete game shutout with seven strikeouts.
After an injury-plagued junior campaign in 2006, Matt McColgan redshirted last season and returned healthy this season as the backup catcher for UCSB. McColgan has three homeruns and 17 RBI in only 52 at-bats for the Gauchos, with his best game coming on March 22 against Saint Mary’s when he went 2-for-3 with a homerun and four RBI.