FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team released its 2011 schedule on Monday and the 54-game slate features some of the nation’s top teams.
“It’s one of our most challenging schedules in recent memory,” said UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema, who will be entering his 18th year as the Gaucho skipper.
Aside from having to battle the Big West, traditionally one of the country’s toughest conferences, the Gauchos play at Washington State (Feb. 25-27) and two-time national champion Oregon State (Mar. 25-27). Santa Barbara also plays home-and-home series with USC, Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.
UCSB will also participate in a six-team tournament from Mar. 11-13 that features Rice and Cal and will be played at AT&T Park, home of the world champion San Francisco Giants.
“We have some tough early-season trips that we hope will prepare us for the vigors of the Big West Conference,” Brontsema said. “Going to Pullman, Wash. in February should be quite a challenge both as an opponent and weather-wise. We’re also really looking forward to our trip to AT&T Park to get a taste of that environment.”
UCSB will host Big West power UC Irvine from May 13-15 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium as well as Blue-Green rival Cal Poly (April 8-10) and traditionally strong Long Beach State (April 21-23). The Gauchos will also host strong Western Athletic Conference teams in Nevada for three games (Mar. 19-20) and San Jose State (April 1-3).
“Our home schedule isn’t much easier but we made a concerted effort to increase our RPI potential,” Brontsema said.
The Gauchos return several key members from last season’s team including all-conference pitcher Jesse Meaux, senior outfielder Mark Haddow and left-handed pitcher Kevin Gelinas, who was drafted in June. UCSB also adds a top-flight recruiting class for 2011, which was ranked by Collegiate Baseball as one of the best in the nation.