As the top-ranked team in the nation, the UCSB club baseball team heads to the National Club Baseball Association World Series in Columbus, Georgia on May 27. Without the resources of the school’s Division I squad, senior outfielder Ryan Hamilton has doubled as the club’s president and team manager, leading the team to a 27-3 overall record.
[media-credit name=”Photo Courtesy of UCSB Club Baseball” align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]“He’s done a great job behind the scenes,” club vice president and outfielder Michael Cochran said. “As a roommate of his I know how much work goes into it; booking the field and getting everybody to practice.”
Hamilton sets lineups — putting himself anywhere from four to seven in the order — and makes pitching decisions. As of last week, he and the rest of the team have raised $1,372 to the cause of covering their travel expenses to Georgia.
“There’s also a lot more pressure [on you as a manager] if you’re playing yourself,” Hamilton said, who won NCBA National Player of the Week honors on May 12. “Getting money from the school is the biggest obstacle, but we’ve got great support from the players and the parents and we’ve been doing fundraising like crazy.”
First basemen Cory Teed leads the squad with 28 RBI, closely followed by Hamilton and roommate Cochran at 25. Senior second baseman Kyle Aganad leads the team in both batting average (.476) and stolen bases.
According to Hamilton, the Gauchos’ strength lies in their depth and their balance. If they can maintain the solid pitching and hitting that they have enjoyed thus far, a World Series title is well within reach.
Last season, pitcher Zachary Buchta led the nation in ERA, and this season pitched his way to a 6-0 record and a 3.16 ERA while recording 48 strikeouts to just 12 walks. He will need to continue that ace level performance if UCSB is going to take home a title.
“All of our pitchers have stepped up and done great, but definitely Zach has done a phenomenal job,” Cochran said. “Him and [senior right-hander] Caleb Kauffman. I feel like any time either of them goes out we have a chance to beat any team.”
The Gauchos’ first matchup will be against No. 8 University of Michigan in the third game of the tournament.
“If we play our own game we should be fine,” Hamilton said. “It’s pretty obvious that the other conferences don’t respect us so we’re still going in with an underdog mentality. We know what they think of us.”
The first pitch in that game is set for 7 p.m. on May 27. The team provides regular updates on Facebook under the name “UCSB Club Baseball 2010-2011.”