Just as the Gauchos wrapped up the series this weekend against Cal State Northridge. Let’s take a look at how the team is doing a little past the halfway point of the season.
With much to play for as the season goes on, the Gauchos are in the midst of a battle for the top spot in the Big West with UC rival, UC Irvine. Although the Gauchos boast a better win percentage at 70% as opposed to UCI’s 65.5% in conference play, the Gauchos are a game back of the Anteaters.
How did the Gauchos get here one might ask?
The Gauchos have been producing on both sides of the ball the whole season.
Nationally, the Gauchos rank inside the top 50 of NCAA division 1 baseball in batting average, slugging, earned run average, WHIP and just about every other major pitching statistic.
This dominance on both sides of the ball led to a blazing start by the Gauchos, coming out of the gate 6-1 going on a six-game win streak following an opening day loss. The momentum was put to a halt, taking a sweep to the 15th ranked Oregon Ducks. The Gauchos didn’t let that hinder their momentum, going on to sweep the University of San Francisco before the start of league play.
Opening up league play in the middle of March, the Cal State Fullerton Titans played host to the Gauchos. The bats came out hot in the first two games with the Gauchos taking the first two games by a combined run differential of 20-6. Unfortunately, they ended up splitting the series losing the latter two in heartbreaking fashion.
The second series of the league came with a four-game sweep of UC Davis. The starting pitching in this series showed why they are one of the best staffs in the country giving up only six runs over the four-game stretch.
The first series of April took place against the out-of-state University of Hawaii. The Gauchos ended up taking three of four from Hawaii with outstanding pitching performances throughout the series. The standout performance came from game one starting pitcher, sophomore Michael McGreevy, who tossed a three-hit complete game shutout, setting the tone for the rest of the series.
The last series played by the Gauchos was against a struggling Cal State Northridge team who had not taken a league series so far this year. The Gauchos opened up the series with a thrilling walk-off home victory thanks to Gianni Bloom beating out an infield single and Steele Ledford beating out the throw home. UCSB followed the thriller with two masterful hitting and pitching displays, scoring 11 runs in both of the next two games while only conceding 4 runs. The Gauchos did drop the last game of the series, but nonetheless still took their third straight league series.
Players to watch out for …
- Sophomore Rodney Boone has pitched in 45.1 innings this season only giving up 9 earned runs, ranking him top 50 among division one pitchers. Rodney’s WHIP is an astonishing 0.89 this season, which also qualifies him for top 50 in Division 1 baseball.
- Sophomore Michael McGreevy has gone 50.2 innings this year putting up an impressive 2.66 ERA and an 11.6 strikeout to walk ratio.
- Freshman Cory Lewis has emerged on the scene in a big way, posting a 2.57 ERA.
- Freshman Carter Benbrook has been the most consistent reliever on the team posting a 2.16 ERA in 12 appearances on the season.
- Redshirt junior reliever Christopher Troye has appeared in 6 relief roles boasting a shaky 5.19 ERA, although his 15.58 K/9 bests the rest of the staff, making him one to watch down the stretch of games.
- Utility man Jason Willow has been as sure handed as they come on the field putting up a perfect fielding percentage.
- Catchers Mason Eng and Gianni Bloom put their receiving sand blocking skills to use this year having only one error each between the two.
- Freshman Zach Rodriguez posts the best batting average on the team and one the best averages in the country at .389. At a .462 batting average, Rodriguez is getting on base during most of his plate appearances.
- Sophomore Broc Mortensen provides the power on the team, leading the team with 29 runs batted in and 8 homes runs on the season.
- Freshman Jordan Sprinkle has the second-best average on the team and provides a speed threat swiping a team high 11 bases in 14 attempts.
This sums up the mid-season breakdown for the UC Santa Barbara Gaucho baseball team. Stay tuned for the pre-series roundup against this weekend’s opponent, UC San Diego!