FROM CBD NEWS SOURCE
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – On the heels of a historic 2013 season, head coach Andrew Checketts and the UCSB baseball team today unveiled their exciting and challenging 2014 schedule, including high profile matchups against national powerhouses both on the road and at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Overall, UCSB’s 2014 opponents have combined for 73 appearances in the College World Series and 12 National Championships. Six of the Gauchos’ foes next year were participants in last season’s NCAA tournament. In addition, they will play the last two winners of the College World Series and three of the last four finalists.
“We feel it is important to put together a schedule that is demanding of our players,” Checketts said. “Playing a competitive non-conference schedule will help us prepare for a very exciting and challenging Big West Conference.”
The Gauchos will open the season on Feb. 14 with a three game set against North Carolina State, which was a participant in the 2013 World Series after earning a national seed. Other 2013 postseason teams slated to play series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium include Wichita State (seven College World Series appeances and one-time national champ) and Cal State Fullerton (16 appearances, four championships).
UCSB will play a home-and-home series with 2013 national champion UCLA, traveling to Westwood on Feb. 25 before welcoming the Bruins on Apr. 29. The Gauchos also travel to the University of Arizona from Mar. 7-9 for a tournament featuring the 2012 national champion Wildcats and 2013 national champion runners-up Mississippi State.
Marquee road matchups include a Mar. 25 game at 2008 national champ Fresno State as well as series at 2013 NCAA Regional teams such as Cal Poly (Apr. 4-6) and San Francisco (May 16-18).
Despite facing another tough schedule last season, the Gauchos surged in the second half to produce one of the most memorable campaigns in program history. Led by consistent production from All-Big West picks Austin Pettibone, Joey Epperson, Woody Woodward, and Dylan Hecht, UCSB produced a 16-6 record to close out the regular season and finish second in the conference for the first time since 2001. Their strong play was recognized by the NCAA Selection Committee, who granted the Gauchos an at-large bid for their first postseason appearance in over a decade.
The 2014 roster is set to return the entire rotation from last year, as well as the back end of the bullpen and seven starting position players. Promising newcomers such as Brody Weiss – son of recently extended Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss – Josh Adams, Dempsey Grover, and Brandon Luper should ensure that the Gauchos won’t miss a beat from last year’s success.
Last week, the baseball program announced its annual Alumni Weekend, which will take place from Jan. 24-26. Festivities planned for the weekend include an alumni social, a round of golf, Sunday brunch, an alumni home run derby, and more. For more details, click here.
For the entire 2014 baseball schedule, click here.
You can support Andrew Checketts’ vision for a winning program by following the “Gaucho 9” blog, with news, updates, and commentary on everything UCSB Baseball.