After winning one of its most difficult games of the year against #23 Oregon State on Sunday, the UCSB baseball team looks to build a winning streak as its road trip comes to an end with a game today against Loyola Marymount.
[media-credit id=16616 align=”alignleft” width=”182″][/media-credit]The Gauchos improved to 11-8 on the season with Sunday’s 8-3 win over the Beavers. Against Northridge last weekend, LMU took two of three games to improve to 15-10.
“LMU is a very good team. They were solid last year, but have taken an extra step this year,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “They might be a favorite to win their conference the way the preseason has gone. If we can come out and play well it will be a great victory.”
With only four games remaining until Big West play begins, the Gauchos are mustering all of the experience they can out of a tough nonconference schedule.
“A good victory certainly gives us some confidence,” Brontsema said. “We played poorly on Saturday and we responded against a good team in tough conditions. When you beat a ranked team on the road hopefully that’s a springboard for you.”
Individual Gauchos have been racking up conference accolades over the last two weeks. Senior right fielder Mark Haddow earned Big West Player of the Week this week, the team’s most recent award. A week before, junior right-handed pitcher Matt Vedo earned Big West Pitcher of the Week after allowing just one run through nine innings against Nevada while pitching a career-high eight strikeouts. Senior second baseman Sean Williams earned another Big West Player of the Week award for the Gauchos the same day. Williams went 6-7 and drove in two runs in two games against the Wolf Pack.
“Individuals stepping up like that is huge, but at the same time this year’s team is a lot more about team success,” senior center fielder Ben Edelstein said. “We want to win, that’s what this year’s team is all about.”
Edelstein has been no slouch for the team either, batting .258 this season. Haddow leads the team with a .544 slugging percentage, batting .324 on the season. Williams’ batting average of .375 also leads the Gauchos.
“If we come out and score early, and do exactly what we did against Oregon State then we should come out with a victory,” Edelstein said.
Senior right-hander Nick Loredo will get the start for the Gauchos while junior lefty John Lally takes the mound for LMU. Laredo leads UCSB with a 3-0 record while posting a 3.38 ERA. The senior has managed to strike out 21 batters while only walking four.
First pitch today is scheduled for 3 p.m. at LMU’s Page Stadium.