UCSB baseball will return to the only place it’s gotten wins this season when Sacramento State visits Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a three-game series this weekend. UCSB is currently 3-3 in the season. The Hornets are 3-6.
[media-credit id=20125 align=”alignright” width=”250″][/media-credit]“It’s good to be back home in more comfortable surroundings,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “It’s not a guarantee for a win, but we’re glad to be playing at home.”
UCSB is currently on a three-game losing streak, with all three losses coming in road games. Washington State swept a two-game series on its home field in frigid conditions in Pullman, while the Gauchos lost to Pepperdine this past Tuesday. Sac State has played six of its nine total games at home, and has only beaten UC Davis on the road during its first game of the season.
Senior right-hander Jesse Meaux will be starting on the mound for the Gauchos during the first game of the series on Friday. Meaux made his season debut against Washington State amidst harsh weather and cold temperatures last weekend, pitching 7.1 innings against the Cougars, allowing eight hits and five earned runs. He struck out two batters.
“He gave us a great outing at Washington in tough conditions,” Brontsema said. “I’m sure Jesse will be happy to be pitching where he can feel his fingers.”
The overall series between these two teams is currently 25-21-2 in favor of the Gauchos. UCSB’s last series win came in 2004, when it swept Sac State in three games. Sac State won last year’s series 2-3 in Sacramento.
“Their [pitchers] in the past like to throw a lot of sliders,” senior outfielder Ben Edelstein said. “We’ve worked on hitting the breaking ball and having a good approach at the plate.”
UCSB’s most recent game ended in a 9-6 loss at Pepperdine on Tuesday. The Gauchos held the lead throughout the majority of the game, until a scoring streak by Pepperdine in the eighth inning put the Waves ahead. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Pepperdine scored five runs in a row to reclaim the lead.
Many Gaucho players have attributed errors and poor defense to the loss against Pepperdine. Practices have been formulated to focus on fixing these mistakes in order to avoid them during the series against Sac State.
“We’ve been taking more repetitions in practice,” senior left-hander Nick Capito said. “More ground balls and fly balls … mentally we know we can make those plays.”
After having three games cancelled this season due to poor weather conditions, UCSB has played the least amount of games of any team in the Big West Conference. With league play quickly approaching, Brontsema knows how important it is to gain experience from each game.
“We have a little bit of a disadvantage,” Brontsema said. “The more games you have, the more of an identity you develop as a team. It takes us out of any kind of rhythm to not have played games more consistently.”
UCSB will try to play more consistently this weekend during the series against Sac State. The first of the three games will be played at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium today at 2 p.m.