Following a 4-1 home stand, the UCSB baseball team will now pack up its bags for a seven-game road trip starting with a three-game series at Riverside today.
The Gauchos improved to 18-17 overall (4-5 Big West) on the season following a 6-4 win over Northridge on Tuesday, boosting their home record to 15-5. Their luck on the road, however, has been a different story.
“We have to play better on the road,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “Going down to play a very good Riverside team will be a challenge. We just have to get in there and play with some energy.”
Road games have been cruel to the Gauchos, as they hold a 3-12 record when traveling. Riverside, which stands at 20-14 on the year and 4-5 in the Big West , will look to continue the Gauchos’ road woes as the teams jockey for pecking order in the Big West.
“We’ve played great at home so far and we need to try and translate that on the road,” senior center fielder Ben Edelstein said. “Each series from here on out gets more and more important. Any momentum we can get, we want to go forward with it and hopefully get some wins together.”
Taking the mound for UCSB on Friday will be senior right-hander Jesse Meaux, who holds a 3-4 record with a 3.62 ERA in nine starts this year. Meaux pitched a complete game in his last outing, leading the Gauchos to a 5-3 victory over Long Beach.
“It’s a must to take this series,” Edelstein said. “With such a competitive league we really have to go down there and at least win the series, and you have to sweep some teams too.”
Edelstein drove in the game-winning run against Northridge with a single in the bottom of the eighth inning on Tuesday. He noted the key to the team’s success would be the offensive attack.
“Getting ahead early in games is huge,” Edelstein said. “We get ahead early and our pitching and defense have a lot more confidence. If we keep scoring runs and don’t get content with our lead it will be a good recipe for success on the road.”
Saturday’s starter will be senior righty Greg Davis, who recorded his fourth save of the year on Tuesday in a dominant ninth inning against in which he struck out two of three batters.
Senior Nick Capito (3-2, 2.72 ERA) will make his second start of the year for the Gauchos on Sunday in the place of usual Sunday starter Matt Vedo.
The Gauchos will go to Riverside — winners of five in a row — with confidence, having shown that they can comeback in games as they did against Northridge and Pepperdine.
“Every weekend the series get bigger and bigger,” senior right fielder Mark Haddow said. “Getting swept by Fullerton was kind of a blow to us but now we are creating a momentum and coming into every series thinking we are going to sweep them and if not win two out of three.”
First-pitch on Friday is set for 6 p.m. at the Riverside Sports Complex.