The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, making their first-ever appearance at the College World Series, are slated to play the opening game of the tournament against Oklahoma State at Noon (PDT) on Saturday, June 18 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Neb.
The second game of the first day pits the No. 3 national seed Miami against the Arizona at 5:00 p.m. (PDT). The winners of the first two contests will meet on Monday, June 20, as will the losers in an elimination game.
The Sunday doubleheader features No. 5 seed Texas Tech against Big 12 rival TCU. The Horned Frogs are making their third straight appearance in Omaha. The final game of the first round features Florida against Coastal Carolina.
The Big West sent three teams to the 64-team NCAA Baseball Championship for the 14th time in conference history. Big West Champion Cal State Fullerton and at-large selections Long Beach State and UC Santa Barbara. All three teams competed in their respective regionals on the road, marking the first time since 2012 that the Big West did not have at least one team host a regional.
• The Big West posted a 159-113-1 (.584) record versus nonconference opponents during the regular season. The Big West also holds an edge over the other west coast conferences (Mountain West, Pac 12, WAC and West Coast), posting an overall record of 102-89 (.534) among its western opponents.
• The Big West has sent at least one team to the Super Regionals 13 out of the last 14 years with UC Santa Barbara visiting Louisville for a Super Regional showdown this season. The 2012 was the lone year where the Big West was not represented at the Super Regionals.
• Since 2000 the Big West Conference has posted a 131-92 (.587) record in the NCAA Tournament, which includes 18 Super Regional appearances, nine College World Series participants and one national champion (Cal State Fullerton, 2004).
• The Big West has had two baseball National Championships, with both of them claimed by the Cal State Fullerton Titans (1995, 2004). The other two titles the Titans earned in 1979 and 1984 were when they were competing in the Southern California Baseball Association (SCBA). In all, the conference has sent five different teams to the College World Series - Cal State Fullerton, former member Fresno State (1988, 1991), Long Beach State, UC Irvine and newcomer UC Santa Barbara this year.
• With UC Santa Barbara advancing to the College World Series this year, the Big West Conference has now sent three different teams to Omaha over the past three seasons. UC Irvine advanced in 2014, Cal State Fullerton returned to Omaha in 2015 and now UC Santa Barbara is making its debut.
• Each of the 16 regionals featured four teams who played a double-elimination format. The regionals were scheduled from Friday, June 3, to Monday, June 6 (if necessary) and super regional action slated for June 10-13. The 70th Men’s College World Series begins play Saturday, June 18, at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha in Omaha, Neb.
• The Big West has enjoyed a tradition of representation at the College World Series. In fact, at least one Big West school has reached Omaha 20 times. Fullerton brought home the Big West’s first national title in 1995 and then brought home a second in 2004.
1975 - Cal State Fullerton
1988 - Cal State Fullerton, Fresno State
1989 - Long Beach State
1990 - Cal State Fullerton
1991 - Long Beach State, Fresno State
1992 - Cal State Fullerton
1993 - Long Beach State
1994 - Cal State Fullerton
1995 - Cal State Fullerton (NCAA champ)
1998 - Long Beach State
1999 - Cal State Fullerton
2001 - Cal State Fullerton
2003 - Cal State Fullerton
2004 - Cal State Fullerton (NCAA champ)
2006 - Cal State Fullerton
2007 - Cal State Fullerton, UC Irvine
2009 - Cal State Fullerton
2014 - UC Irvine
2015 - Cal State Fullerton
2016 - UC Santa Barbara
• Below is a list of the Big West Conference NCAA teams versus the 2016 NCAA Field.
Cal State Fullerton
Arizona State 0-2
La Tech 1-1
Long Beach State 3-3
Mississippi State 0-1
Texas Tech 2-1
UC Santa Barbara 2-1 Total 8-10
Long Beach State
Arizona State 2-1
Cal State Fullerton 3-3
Florida Atlantic 2-0
UC Santa Barbara 1-2 Total 10-9
UC Santa Barbara
Cal State Fullerton 1-2
Long Beach State 2-1
Saint Mary’s 1-1
Xavier 2-0 Total 14-4
BIG WEST TOTAL 32-23
UC SANTA BARBARA (3-0 Nashville Regional)
(2-0 Louisville Super Regional)
• UC Santa Barbara played in a regional for the third time in the last four years. This marked the first time in program history that UCSB has earned a postseason berth three times in four years.
• The Gauchos are making their first appearance in the College World Series where they are set to battle Oklahoma State, Arizona and Miami on the right side of the bracket. UC Santa Barbara, who split a pair of contests against the Wildcats in 2014, trails in the overall series, 8-15. The Gauchos suffered a loss in its lone contest against the Cowboys back in 1990 and have never met the Hurricanes on the diamond. UC Santa Barbara kicks things off against the Cowboys, Saturday, June 18 at Noon (PDT) on ESPN2.
• The Gauchos 5-0 record in the postseason bumped their win total to 42, setting a new school record for wins against Division-I opponents.
• The Gauchos are 9-6-1 against the Top 25 this season.
• The second-seeded Gauchos opened regional play winning a 14-inning, marathon against west coast foe No. 3 Washington, 3-2, thanks to a walk-off home run by Gaucho Austin Bush. Two days later, due to inclement weather halting Saturday’s contest, the Gauchos hung on to defeat Xavier, 5-4, and advance to the title game. A day later they would battle the Musketeers once again, but with a much different outcome as UCSB’s hot bats led them to a dominating 14-5 victory. The sweep of the Nashville Regional awarded the Gauchos their first trip to the Super Regionals in school history.
Nashville All-Region Team
C: Daniel Rizzie, Xavier 1B: Austin Bush, UC Santa Barbara
2B: Chris Givin, Xavier SS: Clay Fisher, UC Santa Barbara
3B: Rylan Bannon, Xavier OF: Andrew Calica, UC Santa Barbara
OF: Jeren Kendall, Vanderbilt
OF: Matt Fallon, Xavier
DH: David Morton, Xavier
P: Noah Bremer, Washington P: Justin Kelly, UC Santa Barbara
MVP: Austin Bush, UC Santa Barbara
• UC Santa Barbara, champions of the Nashville Regional, battled No. 2 national seed Louisville, who swept their own Regional, in a Super Regional match-up in Louisville. The Gauchos swept the Cardinals in back-to-back, come-from-behind thrilling victories thanks to timely home runs.
In game one, Louisville got out to an early 1-0 lead before a Clay Fisher double would drive in a run to tie the game in the third inning. The following inning Austin Bush blasted a two-run home run to give UCSB a 3-1 lead that it would never relinquish as the Gauchos went on to claim a 4-2 victory. The long bomb marked the fourth consecutive postseason game that Bush cleared the fences.
The following day, the Gauchos struggled to get a run on the board and entered the ninth inning trailing 3-0. A single by JJ Muno, followed by two walks, loaded the bases for freshman pinch hitter Sam Cohen. Cohen would hammer a 1-2 change-up from the 2016 first round draft pick, Zack Burdi, inside the right field foul pole for a walk-off grand slam that stunned No. 2 Louisville as the Gauchos punched their ticket to Omaha with a 4-3 win.
The Gauchos dealt the Cardinals just their second and third home losses of the season. This also marked the second straight year a Big West school knocked off Louisville on its home turf in the Super Regionals. Cal State Fullerton defeated the Cardinals in three games in 2015.
• UC Santa Barbara has tallied six walk-off wins this season.
• Kings of the Hill: The UC Santa Barbara pitching staff entered the postseason sporting a 3.89 ERA. In the postseason alone, the Gauchos registered a 2.70 mark, lowering their overall average to 3.78. A large part of their success has to do with the stellar performances by Shane Bieber and Kyle Nelson. In two postseason starts, Bieber recorded a 1.88 ERA and currently sits 10th in the league with a 2.84 overall ERA. Nelson, the UCSB closer, hasn’t allowed a run in 8.0 innings of work in the postseason, dropping his ERA to 2.02 to tie for 22nd in the nation.
• The Gauchos’ bats are also on fire this postseason. UCSB entered the postseason averaging .45 home runs per game. During this year’s road to Omaha, the Gauchos have averaged 1.4 long bombs a game with Austin Bush leading the charge with four.