Previewing Arizona Baseball’s matchup with UC-Santa Barbara

TUCSON, AZ – Arizona Baseball (41-15, 21-9) returns to action in Day Two of NCAA Tournament action with a Saturday evening matchup against UC-Santa Barbara (40-18, 29-11).  

Win and advance, that’s all the tournament is about at this point, and after beating GCU 12-6 to start Tournament play on Friday evening, Arizona Baseball will now await a major showdown with UC-Santa Barbara.

Coming in, the Wildcats will have a tough challenge on their hands. Despite starting a little slow against the Antelopes on Friday, Arizona did a great job of staying steady and remaining the course, slowly plugging away at GCU’s lead, eventually passing the Lopes and running away with the victory.

However, the Gauchos present a much larger challenge. UCSB played small ball and used their speed and athleticism against Oklahoma State to come away with the 14-4 victory. Against Arizona, this could become an offensive showdown.

Here’s a look at the Wildcats’ opponent the UCSB Gauchos…

Previewing Arizona Baseball’s game two opponent in UC-Santa Barbara:

Conference: Big West
Head Coach:
Andrew Checketts
Head Coaching Record: 329-197-3
Current Record: 40-18 (29-11)

Pitching:

Overall, the Gauchos have a fairly solid group, with seven of 17 pitchers sporting an ERA under 4.00, and together UCSB has held opponents to a combined 3.84 ERA and 10.44 K’s per nine innings.

  • Largely led by sophomore LHP Rodney Boone has been quite good this year, compiling an 11-4 record with a 2.31 ERA and 128 strikeouts.
  • Michael McGreevy (Sophomore RHP) has also been very good for the Gauchos and should likely get the start against Arizona. So far this year, the California native possesses a 9-1 record with a 2.92 ERA and 109 strikeouts in 15 appearances.
  • Freshmen Carter Benbrook and Corey Lewis have also been nice surprises for UCSB, combining for a 13-5 record, 142 strikeouts, five saves, and 2.79 and 3.63 ERA’s respectfully.

Hitting:

Overall, UCSB brings a good offensive group to Tucson that scores a lot. While the Gauchos currently have a combined .291 batting average, this group has a lot of power from the plate, combining for 62 home runs, and they have an impressive 385 RBI’s (415 total runs).

  • As a team, the Gauchos are averaging 7.16 runs per game. By comparison, Arizona is averaging 8.73 runs per game.
  • The Gauchos currently possess an impressive .460 slugging percentage and a .383 on-base percentage.
  • UCSB also has four different batters with seven home runs or more on the season, while OF Broc Mortensen leads all batters with 15 home runs, 51 RBI’s, and a .282 batting average.

The Wildcats will need to stay hungry and ready as UCSB has a solid group, and they will look to continue their hot start as they look to knock off the 5th seeded Wildcats.

How to watch/follow the game:

Time/Date: Saturday 6/5 – 7:00 pm MST
TV: ESPN3
Radio: 1290 AM (Tucson) with Brian Jefferies on the call.

Tickets are still available and can be purchased here