The UCSB baseball team will be donning warmer clothes this weekend when it leaves the sunny surroundings of Isla Vista to go to Pullman, Wash., for its first three-game road series against Washington State, where temperatures are expected to hover in the low 20s throughout the weekend.
“[The weather] is going to be a challenge mentally and physically,” senior infielder Sean Williams said. “We’ve got to layer [our clothes] so we can throw, hit and run [so we] won’t pull any muscles. We have to adjust, it’s part of the game.”
UCSB is currently an undefeated 3-0 with two wins against La Salle University and one against cross-town rival Westmont College, while the Cougars are 2-1 after finishing its only series against Cal State Bakersfield last Sunday.
Washington State finished third overall in the Pac-10 last season and made the NCAA playoffs for the second consecutive year, while UCSB finished fifth in the Big West and did not play in the post-season.
“Teams change every year,” senior infielder Beck Wheeler said. “Last year’s success for them doesn’t necessarily carry over into this year, and our disappointments don’t really carry over into this year.”
Today’s game has been changed to the first part of a double-header tomorrow. The third game will be played as scheduled on Sunday, weather permitting.
Senior Jesse Meaux will be starting on the mound in the first game on tomorrow for the Gauchos. He was set to make his season debut against La Salle, but the game was rained out last weekend. He will attempt to contribute to a UCSB pitching rotation that has thrown 30 strikeouts through the team’s first three games while giving up just five walks.
“One of our strengths on the mound is we throw a lot of strikes,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “And [we] normally play pretty good defense. That’s a good combination.”
The last meeting between these two teams was in 2000, when UCSB finished the one-game series with a 7-4 victory at home.
“I don’t think even [Washington State] could be used to that [weather],” Brontsema said. “I don’t think anyone can be used to playing in that kind of stuff.”
The first pitch will be thrown tomorrow at 12 p.m. at Bailey-Brayton Field on the Washington State campus.