The University of California, Santa Barbara baseball team ended the regular season on a sizzling hot streak. The Gauchos have won 15 of their last 20 games and as a result of have been selected to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) Baseball Regional Tournament for the first time since 2001. The Gauchos ended the season with a record of 34-23 overall and an outstanding 17-10 in a stout Big West Conference which landed them in second place for the conference standings just behind California State University, Fullerton.
The Gauchos were selected as one of the 34 at-large teams in a field of 64 teams. The Gauchos will be traveling to Corvallis, Ore. as the third seeded team in the Oregon State University Regional and will be taking on the second-seeded Aggies of Texas A&M University. The Regional Tournament is the first stage of the NCAA Division 1 Baseball College World Series Tournament which is the playoff system that will crown NCAA Division 1 Baseball Champion.
There are 16 regionals, which will be hosted by the top 16 schools. Each regional field features four teams who will be playing in a double-elimination format. All 16 regionals are scheduled to be conducted May 31 through June 3. The four teams in the OSU regional will be Oregon State University (45-10) as the first seed, Texas A&M University as the second seed (32-27), UCSB as the third seed (34-23), and The University of Texas At San Antonio as the fourth seed (35-23).
The Gauchos came together and began winning at just the right time to earn this opportunity. The team finished the season with a .280 batting average, averaging 5.4 runs a game, and a team era of 3.99. Though it was a complete team effort, noticeable stat leaders of the team include second-year first baseman, Tyler Kuresa, who led the team in both RBI’s (45) and homeruns (5) with a batting average of .304. Third-year infielder Brandon Trinkwon led the team with runs (40), placed second in team RBI’s (35) and homeruns (4) to go along with his .287 average and 10 stolen bases. Second-year starting pitcher Austin Pettibone topped out the Gaucho rotation with a record of 9-3, an ERA of 3.11, as well as a team leading 55 strikeouts. First-year closer Dylan Hecht frequently shut the door on opponents with his team leading 8 saves to accompany his 1.93 ERA.
The Gauchos will need to continue their superb baseball if they hope to get past the Regional Tournament as they are only 6-17 all-time in NCAA tournament play, but if baseball history tells us anything, it’s typically the teams that end the regular season on a hot streak that tend to advance far into the tournament or playoffs, whether it be college or the MLB.
The Gauchos will play Texas A&M on Friday, May 31, in Corvallis at 3:00 p.m. You can follow the Gauchos in the College World Series at http://www.ncaa.com/sports/baseball/d1, or for exclusive Gaucho story lines at http://www.ucsbgauchos.com/sports/m-basebl/index