UC Santa Barbara Record: 30-13 (21-8)
UC Irvine Record: 26-15 (18-7)
Tale of the Tape:
A battle for the top spot…
The Gauchos will be coming into this series riding some serious momentum, coming off a series victory versus their rivals, Cal Poly. Although winning three out of four versus Cal Poly was impressive, they will be facing a whole different type of team with Irvine. This Irvine team went on an 8-game win streak during the beginning of league play and holds the best record in the conference.
A sign of change…
The Anteaters come into this series on a bittersweet note. On one hand, they still hold the top spot in the conference and have the opportunity to extend their lead. On the other hand, they are coming off of a shaky series versus a middle-of-the-pack Long Beach State, with their last loss coming via shutout. Before the LBSU series, they had three straight series wins, so one has to ask, is this the Gauchos‘ opportunity to take the conference lead?
The top spot in the conference…
The next closest team to the second place Gauchos is CSU Bakersfield at a 0.591 winning percentage in the conference. So, with the Gauchos and Anteaters being separated by a 0.036 winning percentage, it’s obvious that this is a crucial series. Also, with only two conference series left for the Gauchos following this series versus UC Irvine, so there is no room for error.
Players To Watch: UCSB
Bounce back start…
Coming off a shaky performance and picking up only his second loss of the year, look for sophomore starter Rodney Boone to turn things around. He still holds an impressive 2.47 ERA and an 11.47 K/9 ratio on the season.
From being the walk-off hero against LBSU, sophomore utility player Christian Kirtley continued his hot stretch, driving in 1 run in Game 4 against Cal Poly. He’s brought up his conference on base percentage to .364 while having the fourth most runs batted in on the team.
Dominate on the bump…
Freshman left-handed pitcher Carter Benbrook picked up a save in Game 1 against Cal Poly and returned in the series to pitch four scoreless innings and pick up a win. He has lowered his ERA on the season to 2.27, and opponents are hitting just .201 off of him this season.
Players To Watch: UCI
A sub what ERA…?
Freshman pitcher reliever Jacob King comes into the series with a 2.6 ERA, with the ERA being 0.60 in 11 relief appearances.
Another reliever that’s hot…
Junior pitcher reliever Michael Stanford also has the hot hand out of the pen with a 1.64 ERA with a 1.73 WHIP in five relief appearances.
Good luck containing these guys…
Junior catcher Dillon Tatum, redshirt sophomore infielder Jake Cosgrove, redshirt freshman outfielder Nathan Church and junior catcher Jacob Castro each boast an On-base Plus Slugging at above 1.000. Of the bunch, Tatum provides the power, with 11 of the teams’ 26 homers and a .733 slugging percentage, which is .200 better than any other teammate.
Where to watch the Games…
Game 1: Friday, May 7 at 5 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, May 8 at 3 p.m.
Game 3: Saturday, May 8 at 7 p.m.
Game 4: Sunday, May 9 at 1 p.m.
All games will be at our home stadium, Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.