UC Santa Barbara Gauchos baseball

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UC Santa Barbara Gauchos
UC Santa Barbara Gauchos wordmark.svg
Founded1922 (1922)
UniversityUniversity of California, Santa Barbara
Head coachAndrew Checketts (9th season)
ConferenceBig West
LocationSanta Barbara, California
Home stadiumCaesar Uyesaka Stadium
(Capacity: 1,000)
ColorsBlue and Gold[1]
College World Series appearances
NCAA regional champions
NCAA Tournament appearances
1952, 1972, 1983, 1986, 1987, 1990, 1996, 2001, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2019
Conference champions
1950, 1952, 1954, 1972, 1983, 1986, 2019

The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos baseball team represents the University of California, Santa Barbara in the sport of baseball. The Gauchos compete in Division I of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) through the Big West Conference. They are currently led by head coach Andrew Checketts, who led his fifth season with the Gauchos in 2016.[2]


Emergence of a team[edit]

UCSB baseball team in the home dugout, March 2010

Few records exist from the start of Santa Barbara's baseball program. Through its different incarnations, Santa Barbara has fielded a team as early as 1922. The first known head coach is Kenneth Bolton, who coached in only the 1922 season before handing the reins to O. J. Gilliland in 1923.[3] C.J. Anderson, Ralph DeBolt, Henry Minetti, Lewis Peters, Arthur Peterson, Harold Sanford, Fred Seegert, Louis Sherril, William Thrasher, Linn Unkefer, and John Vince are the first known players and were listed on the 1923 team.[4]

Santa Barbara State Teachers College, as one of the precursors to the present day UC Santa Barbara, played in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference as far back as the 1932–33 season.[5] It is likely to have had even earlier teams in the SCIAC as records show Santa Barbara joined the conference in 1931.[6]

Santa Barbara's first reliable team of record can be traced back to 1947, then led by Theordore "Spud" Harder. Wearing multiple hats, Harder served as Santa Barbara's Director of Athletics, football head coach, and baseball head coach.[7] The team played in the California Collegiate Athletic Association from at least 1947 until 1958 when it left to compete in the California Intercollegiate Baseball Association.

Roy Engle, a dual sport head coach in football and baseball[8] in the mold of Spud Harder, took over the program in 1952 and led the Gauchos to their first ever post-season berth. The Gauchos lost both games they played against the Fresno State Bulldogs baseball team by a combined score of 28-6.

Conference volatility[edit]

Rene Rochelle took over the program in 1954 and coached the team through the CCAA to CIBA transition. He spent 6 seasons as head coach before Dave Gorrie took the lead for the 1960 season.

Gorrie was at the helm for over 700 games in Gaucho blue and gold, and provided a bit of stability to the team as it bounced from conference to conference in the 1960s and 1970s. Throughout his 18 seasons as head coach, saw six league status changes. He endured through a rough start to his tenure, with the team compiling a 32–95 record in conference play his first seven seasons – the worst such stretch in Gaucho baseball history. A change in for the 1967,[clarification needed] going from CIBA competition to becoming an independent, marked the end of the slide. Independent ball lasted just one season with the Gauchos joining the West Coast Athletic Conference in 1968. The stay was short – just two seasons – before the Gauchos were on the move again.

Beginning with the 1970 season, the Gauchos competed in the Big West Conference through 1974. This period contained Gorrie's best season with the Gauchos - a 31–16 season which saw the Gauchos go 14–4 in Big West play, resulting in their second-ever NCAA post season berth. In the 1972 NCAA University Division Baseball Tournament, the Gauchos recorded their first-ever postseason wins against Santa Clara Broncos, before losing to eventual National Champions USC Trojans. It also marked the first time in UC Santa Barbara history that their baseball team was nationally ranked at the end of the season after being ranked 17th at the conclusion of the year.[9]

Andrew Checketts era[edit]

In the 2015 NCAA Division I baseball season, the Gauchos set a program record for wins en route to hosting their first ever NCAA Regional in the 2015 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament.[10] Star pitcher Dillon Tate was drafted 4th overall in the 2015 Major League Baseball draft.[11]

The 2016 NCAA Division I baseball season saw the Gauchos build on their success. They were thought to be too young to compete at a high level for 2016 and placed 4th in the Big West Conference's preseason coaches' poll.[12][13] UCSB advanced to the 2016 NCAA Division I Baseball Tournament with an at-large bid, then subsequently made NCAA Super Regional and NCAA College World Series appearances for the first time in the school's history.[12][14][15] Gaucho fans adopted a soccer chant commonly used at UC Santa Barbara Gauchos men's soccer games while in Omaha.[16]

The Gauchos returned to the NCAA tournament in 2019 by winning their first outright Big West regular season title with a record of 45-9, 19-5 in conference.[17] The Gauchos won 13 series over the entire season, only dropping 2 series all year. The team was drawn into the Stanford regional, and lost the opener 9-2 to Fresno State, and again lost 6-4 to Sacramento State, ending their season.[18]

Head coaching history[edit]

Coach Years
Kenneth Bolton 1922
O. J. Gilliland 1923–1926
Dudley DeGroot 1928–1929
Seldon Spalding 1929–1930
Hal Davis 1930–1936
Spud Harder 1936–1947
Joe Lantenge 1948
Spud Harder 1949–1951
Roy Engle 1951–1953
Rene Rochelle 1953–1959
Dave Gorrie 1959–1977
Mike Simpson 1978–1980
Al Ferrer 1981–1993
Bob Brontsema 1994–2011
Andrew Checketts 2012–present

Notable former players[edit]

This list of notable former players comprises players who went on to play professional baseball after playing for the team. Players denoted in bold represent MLB All-Stars. Players denoted in italics represent World Series Champions.

The Blue-Green Rivalry[edit]

The main rival of the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos baseball team is the Cal Poly Mustangs baseball team. The rivalry is a part of the larger Blue–Green Rivalry, which encompasses all sports from the two schools.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "UCSB Color". Retrieved March 30, 2016.
  2. ^ "2014 Record Book" (PDF). UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. p. 19. Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  3. ^ Stadtman, Verne A., ed. (1967). The Centennial Record of the University of California.
  4. ^ "2014 Record Book" (PDF). UC Santa Barbara Gauchos. p. 19. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  5. ^ "BASEBALL ALL-CONFERENCE TEAMS 1932 - 1989" (PDF). Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  6. ^ "About the SCIAC". Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  7. ^ Lehrmann, Rebecca (November 15, 2010). "Widow of Former Coach Passes". Daily Nexus. Retrieved September 11, 2014.
  8. ^ Williams, Jack (June 11, 2005). "Roy Engle, 87; coach was Hoover High sports hero". The San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 12, 2014.
  9. ^ "Division I Baseball Records" (PDF). NCAA. p. 44. Retrieved September 16, 2014.
  10. ^ Foley, Brian (January 28, 2016). "2016 Big West Preseason Poll". CollegeBaseballDaily.com. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  11. ^ "Rangers sign 1st-round draft pick Dillon Tate for $4.2M". Fox Sports. June 12, 2015. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  12. ^ a b Mercado, Jorge (June 12, 2016). "Walk-Off Grand Slam Sends Gauchos To First Ever College World Series". Daily Nexus. Santa Barbara, California. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  13. ^ "Titans Selected To Repeat As Conference Champion". Big West Conference. January 28, 2016. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  14. ^ Mercado, Jorge (June 7, 2016). "Gauchos Defeat Xavier To Advance to First Super Regional in Program History". Daily Nexus. Santa Barbara, California. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  15. ^ Burke, Timothy (June 12, 2016). "UCSB Earns First CWS Trip With Walk-Off Grand Slam". Deadspin. Retrieved June 13, 2016.
  16. ^ Nyatawa, Jon (June 22, 2016). "What's up with Santa Barbara's 'Ole' chant?". Omaha World-Herald. Omaha, Nebraska. Retrieved June 25, 2016.
  17. ^ https://www.independent.com/2019/05/25/ucsb-baseball-claims-big-west-championship-with-victory-over-cal-poly/
  18. ^ http://www.ucsbgauchos.com/sports/m-basebl/2018-19/schedule