UCSB Pushes Pause on Big West, Hosts SDSU for Dave Gorrie Weekend

Colton Burns (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Colton Burns (photo by Eric Isaacs)

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• The Schedule
Friday, April 21 at 3:00 p.m. vs. San Diego State (27-11)
Saturday, April 22 at 2:00 p.m. vs. SDSU
Sunday, April 23 at 1:00 p.m. vs. SDSU
at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium
All-time record vs. the Aztecs: 8-32-1
Record vs. SDSU in Checketts era: 0-1
UCSB home record / SDSU away record: 12-7 / 10-5
Last meeting: SDSU 4-3 UCSB (2015 Lake Elsinore Regional)
UCSB Streak / Last 10:  Won 2 / 5-5
SDSU Streak / Last 10:  Won 3 / 8-2
UCSB / SDSU RPI: 115 / 101 (as of Apr. 19)

• Welcome to Dave Gorrie Weekend
UCSB's three-game series against San Diego State coincides with Dave Gorrie weekend. UCSB and a group of Dave's friends are organizing a reunion this weekend to honor the life of the former Gaucho coach, who passed away in 2015. There will be a special ceremony before Saturday's game remembering Coach Gorrie. For more info, click here.

• Projected Starting Pitchers
Friday: RHP Noah Davis (6-3, 4.98 ERA) vs. RHP Jorge Fernandez (0-1, 2.16 ERA)
Saturday: LHP Kyle Nelson (4-3, 3.48 ERA) vs. LHP Dominic Purpura (6-0, 2.85 ERA)
Sunday: RHP Chris Clements (1-4, 6.31 ERA) vs. TBA

• Gauchos Over the Air
UCSBGauchos.com will carry live audio and video broadcasts of all three games against the Aztecs this weekend. Gerry Fall will provide play-by-play duties for the video broadcast, while Kevin Cannon will man the mic for the audiocast. Links to all broadcasts can be found on the UCSB baseball schedule page.

• The Week in Review
UCSB earned its first Big West series win of the year last weekend after taking two of three at home against UC Irvine, then finished off the week with a solid 6-3 midweek win at Pepperdine. Sam Cohen drove in four and Colton Burns went 4-5 to lead UCSB in an 8-7 series-opening win against the Anteaters. UCI rallied for six runs in the final three innings Friday to even the series before UCSB returned the favor with a series-clinching walk-off 8-7 win on Saturday. Armani Smith's 9th inning sac fly capped a five-run rally over two innings for the Gauchos. Ben Brecht allowed two earned over seven innings for his fourth consecutive start to lead UCSB over the Waves on Tuesday.

• Cohen Named Big West Field Player of the Week
UCSB sophomore catcher/DH Sam Cohen was named the Big West Field Player of the Week on Monday after compiling a .500 average, six RBIs, and two home runs in the UCI series. After his four-RBI debut against the Anteaters, he added an RBI triple in Friday's loss before sparking both of UCSB's late Saturday rallies, homering to lead off the eighth before singling with one out in the ninth to set up Smith's heroics.Cohen has at least one extra-base hit in his past six games.

• .300 Club
Thanks to hot streaks from center fielder Tommy Jew and third baseman Kenny Corey on top of solid campaigns so far from Colton Burns, Armani Smith, and Billy Fredrick, UCSB now boasts five lineup regulars who are hitting over .300. No other Big West school has more than three.

• Offense Turning It On
A huge uptick in production is the key reason that UCSB has gone 5-2 over its past seven games, The Gauchos have racked up 65 runs in that stretch, an average of 9.3 per game. After ranking middle of the pack or lower in most major offensive categories up through the end of March, UCSB has climbed the ladder and now leads the Big West with a .414 team slugging percentage and is second with a .279 team batting average. Seven of UCSB's nine position player starters are slugging over .400, led by Cohen's .563 clip.

• Caesar Uyesaka Fortress
Andrew Checketts has turned Caesar Uyesaka Stadium into a fortress since the start of 2014, as the Gauchos have gone 79-26-2 (.752 win percentage) on their home turf in that time. UCSB has lost just one non-conference series at home over the past five seasons (Oregon in 2015). The Gauchos are 116-48-2 (.707) at home in the entire Checketts era (since 2012).

• Quick Starters
The blue-and-gold have shown a penchant for strong starts in 2017, as they have put together a +21 run differential in the first three innings compared to a -14 margin in the final six innings of contests.

• On the Upswing
The Gauchos are coming off the two most historic seasons in program history. Last year, UCSB rode a postseason hot streak to the school's first-ever College World Series berth, winning a school-record 43 game against Division I opponents on the way. In 2015, the Gauchos won 40 regular season games, earned the first No. 1 seed in program history, and had a team-record 10 players drafted, including No. 4 overall pick Dillon Tate.