Third-Seeded Gauchos Begin World Series Quest at Tucson Regional

Photo by Tony Mastres
Photo by Tony Mastres

Tournament Central

Tickets are now on sale as Hi Corbett Field will be at full capacity for the Tucson Regional. Tickets for the UCSB rooter section can be bought here while supplies last. Additional tickets for other sections of the ballpark go on sale Wednesday, June 6 at 9 AM PT and can be bought here. Parking at Hi Corbett Field is free for the weekend.

Gauchos On the Air
UCSB's Friday matchup with Oklahoma State will be aired live on ESPN3 as will the second game of the night between host Arizona and Grand Canyon. Saturday and Sunday's broadcasts are still to be determined, but an additional audio-only broadcast by Kevin Cannon and Spencer Stewart will be available for every Gaucho contest.

The Schedule (All Times PDT)
Friday, June 4
Game 1 – (3) UC Santa Barbara  vs. (2) Oklahoma State, 1 PM
Game 2 – (4) Grand Canyon  vs. (1) Arizona, 7 PM

Saturday, June 5
Game 3 – Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 PM
Game 4 – Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7 PM

Sunday, June 6
Game 5 – Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 12 PM
Game 6 – Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 PM

All games at Arizona's Hi Corbett Field

The Regional Field
(1) Arizona (40-15) - 5th national seed
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Wildcats: 8-16 (last meeting: 2016 College World Series)

(2) Oklahoma State (35-17-1)
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Cowboys: 0-2 (last meeting: 2016 College World Series)

(3) UC Santa Barbara (39-18)

(4) Grand Canyon (39-19-1)
UCSB's all-time record vs. the Lopes: 0-0 (Wold be first meeting)

The Tournament
The 64-team NCAA Tournament is divided into 16 regional brackets, with four teams in each regional. The four teams play each other in a double-elimination format until there is one team left. That team advances to a Super Regional against the winner of another regional bracket in a best-of-three series. The eight winners of the Super Regionals advance to the College World Series in Omaha, Neb. The winner of the Tuscon Regional will face off against the winner of the Oxford Regional, featuring the host and No. 12 national seed Ole Miss, (2) Southern Miss., (3) Florida State, and (4) Southeast Mo. State. 

Postseason Play Under Checketts
This is the fifth trip in the last eight seasons to the NCAA Tournament under head coach Andrew Checketts, who is in his tenth season at the helm of the Gauchos. In just his second year in 2013, Checketts brought the Gauchos back to the regionals for the first time since 2001, snapping the second longest playoff drought in program history. That was the beginning of three regional appearances in four years for UCSB, featuring a first-ever hosting bid at Lake Elsinore in 2015 and an unforgettable run to the College World Series in 2016 after winning the Nashville Regional as a No. 2 seed and upsetting Super Regional host Louisville on a memorable walk-off grand slam by Sam Cohen. 

A Brief History of the Gauchos in the Postseason
The Gauchos have an overall record of 13-25 all-time in the postseason and have appeared in a regional 12 times including this year. Previous trips occurred in 1972, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019. Only four other coaches besides Checketts have led UCSB to the NCAA Tournament: Roy Engle ('52), Dave Gorrie ('72), Al Ferrer ('83, '86, '87, '90), and Bob Brontsema ('96, 01'). UCSB is 7-8 in the playoffs under Checketts, accounting for more than half of its all-time wins, and tallied six of those in 2016. 

Current Streaks
Team – Eight game win streak
Marcos Castanon – 15 game hit streak
Broc Mortensen – Has reached base in 14 straight games
Cole Cummings – Has reached base in 12 straight games
Kyle Johnson – Has reached base in 10 straight games
Jordan Sprinkle – Nine game hit streak
McClain O'Connor – Has reached base in nine straight games

In the Record Book
The 2021 Gauchos have etched their names into the all-time records on several occasions this season on both the individual and team level.

586 strikeouts and counting – Most all-time in a single season
Six shutouts and counting – Tied for 3rd all-time in a single season

Rodney Boone: 117 strikeouts and counting – 3rd all-time in a single season
Rodney Boone: 228 strikeouts and counting – 3rd all-time in a career
Rodney Boone: 20 wins and counting – Tied for 9th all-time in a career
Michael McGreevy: 109 strikeouts and counting – Tied for 7th all-time in a single season
Zach Rodriguez: 19 HBP and counting – Tied for 3rd all-time in a single season
Broc Mortensen: 18 HBP and counting – Tied for 4th all-time in a single season
Broc Mortensen: 15 home runs- Tied for 6th all-time in a single season
Cole Cummings: 45 walks – Tied for 7th all-time in a single season
Cole Cummings: 19 doubles – Tied for 9th all-time in a single season

Boone Earns Third Big West Pitcher of the Week Award
Another stellar performance in his final regular season start earned Rodney Boone the Big West Pitcher of the Week, the conference announced Monday afternoon.

Boone completed the hat trick in the final week of the regular season and is the sole Big West Pitcher to earn the award three times this season. It is the fourth of his career. The Gaucho pitcher took the mound for game one of the Gauchos' Saturday doubleheader and tossed eight shutout innings while striking out 12. He struck out at least one batter in every inning and now has five 10-plus K outings. He allowed just three hits in the team's 6-0 win.

Cole is Crushing
Third baseman Cole Cummings has been the face of consistency for the Gauchos this year having reached base safely in 53 of the 57 games played this season. He ended the regular season as the conference leader with 45 walks and 60 runs scored, second with 19 doubles, and sixth with 72 hits.

He recently etched his name into the Gaucho history books collecting a program-best five walks in a single game vs UC San Diego and now ranks top ten in both walks and doubles for the season.

Freshman on Fire
Ranking third in the conference in batting average this season is none other than true freshman outfielder Zach Rodriguez, who posted a .363 in the regular season. He also ranks foruth in hits (74), third in RBI (51), second in HBP (19), fifth in total bases (109), and tenth in home runs (7). 

Sprinkle it On
One of the top young shortstops in the conference, Jordan Sprinkle has emerged as a reliable spark plug for the Gauchos this year at the plate and on the basepaths. He closed out the regular season as the conference leader by a fair margin with 25 stolen bases this year.

Additionally, the middle infielder is also second in hits (77), third in runs (52), fifth in batting average (.358), third in total bases (120), fourth in doubles (18) and sixth in slugging (.558).

On the Mound
UCSB prides itself on strong defense and pitching, leading the Big West Conference in strikeouts (586). They also boast the second-best team opposing batting average at .239 and are third with a team ERA of 3.86. 

Much of this comes from the dynamic duo of sophomores Rodney Boone and Michael McGreevy, who are ranked first and second in the conference with 117 and 109, respectively. Boone is 5th in the nation with 10 wins, ninth in the nation with a 4.94 hits allowed per nine average, and is second in the conference with a 2.20 ERA. McGreevy is second in the nation with a 10.40 strikeout-to-walk ratio and a 0.94 walks allowed per nine average, and is fourth in the conference with a 2.92 ERA.

Big Bats
The Gauchos have been getting it done at the plate this season leading the Big West in several major offensive categories. This includes home runs (53), hits (521), RBI (341), doubles (101), slugging (.446), stolen bases (77), sac flies (30) and total bases (815). They are also second in the league with 17 triples and third with a .285 batting average.

Mortensen Mashes
First-year Gaucho Broc Mortensen has made his presence felt in his debut season with UCSB as he finished the regular season as the Big West home run champion with 15. He also ranks fourth in runs (50), and third in RBI (51) and slugging (.579).

McGreevy Named Pitcher of the Year Semifinalist
After being named to College Baseball Foundation's Pitcher of the Year watchlist back in April, Michael McGreevy of UCSB Baseball has now been named a semifinalist for the award. He is one of just 17 pitchers to make the list and the sole representative from the Big West Conference.

The winner will be crowned later this summer by the College Baseball Foundation.