College | Story | 4/16/2019

Scout Take: UC Santa Barbara

Connor Spencer        
Photo: Tommy Jew (UCSB Athletics)

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UC Santa Barbara Gauchos

What Happened: UCSB had their biggest weekend series since they hosted a Regional in 2016 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, and they not only passed the test, they passed it with flying colors. In game one on Friday junior Ben Brecht provided the Gauchos with yet another lights out performance on the mound moving his record to 7-0. Thomas Rowan provided two home runs giving UCSB the lead and then the eventual cushion. On Saturday the offense exploded against a very good Tanner Brubaker for UCI. The offense put up 10 runs off 11 hits and sophomore starter Jack Dashwood provided another quality start. Then on Sunday, with arguably the Anteater’s best starter on the mound in Trenton Denholm, UCSB fought off UCI’s pushback, holding on 3-2 and sweeping the Eaters in what is now a statement series for the Gauchos.

Carrying Tool: Their offense, although an argument can be made for their starting staff, as their starting rotation has yet to lose a game. This Gauchos lineup is potent from top to bottom and has a ridiculous team batting average of .290 with 38 home runs. Irvine’s pitching staff is one of the best in the country and yet the UCSB offense made them look like the status quo. Highlighted with bats like Eric Yang, Tommy Jew and Thomas Rowan, it just feels like the Gauchos can strike at any time, no matter the situation, as big bats are riddled throughout the order.

Concerns: Honestly, it feels like nitpicking, but their biggest concern is their bullpen. The Gauchos have a power arm and a premier closer in Chris Lincoln to close out their games, however, their set-up arms and long relievers are lacking. If opposing teams are able to knock out Brecht, Dashwood or Sunday starter Rodney Boone early, they’ve got a chance to tack on runs. The only problem is this task is easier said than done. The offense seems to always show up for UCSB. Just look at the results of three of their five losses on the season: a 9-7 loss to LMU, a 9-8 loss to UNLV and a 7-6 defeat to Saint Mary’s. If the pitching can keep opposing teams to under five runs a game they’re giving the team a chance to win.

Best Player on the Field: There are a few different players on the Gauchos that an argument can be made for, however, junior catcher Eric Yang stands out. What MLB team doesn’t want a solid defensive catcher who can hit for power, and oh by the way, is batting nearly .400 on the season? Yang possesses great balance in his swing and he has the ability to drive the ball to all fields as he leads the team in doubles.

Fearless Forecast: At No. 16 (now ranked ninth after a 4-0 week that included a midweek win over Pepperdine) in the country, UCSB wasn’t truly garnering the respect they deserved going into their series against UC Irvine. Let this serve as an announcement to all teams that they are for real, and if the Gauchos weren’t a national contender in your mind before they better be now. Let it be known that UCSB will host a Regional and eventually advance to Omaha. All the pieces are there. Dominant Starters? Check. Offense? Check. Someone who can close the door? Check. All the pitching has to do is keep their opponents to under five runs and the Gaucho bats will do the rest. Remember that UCI had one of the most respected weekend rotations in the country coming into this series. Look out for the Gauchos. 

Players covered: Tommy Jew, Thomas Rowan, Eric Yang, Ben Brecht, Jack Dashwood, Chris Lincoln.

Tommy Jew
An interesting prospect for the 2019 MLB Draft is center fielder Tommy Jew. Jew is a quick and athletic 6-foot-1, 180-pounds and has the ability to cover a ton of territory in center. In game one of UCSB’s series against UC Irvine, Jew made as good of a catch as you will ever see in college baseball, leaping over the right-center field fence and bringing back a home run that at the time would have tied the game at two.

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