Head Coach Andrew Checketts began his tenure as a Gaucho this past weekend when UCSB dropped three of four games in a three-day series against No. 23 Oregon State. The Gauchos were able to pull off a one-run victory in extra innings during the third game of the series and fell to the Beavers 7-3, 3-2 and 8-6 in the first, second and fourth games.
“We were in every game,” Checketts said. “If we throw strikes and play defense I think we win three out of four.”
Friday’s opening game of the series saw UCSB’s senior righthander Matt Vedo retire 10 of 11 batters up through the fourth inning, when Oregon State went on a five-run rally to take a commanding 5-0 lead. The Gauchos were able to score in the fifth inning after Joey Wallace’s bunt sent Ryan Palermo across home plate. Two runs in the sixth inning closed the Beavers’ lead to 5-3, but UCSB would score no more as OSU went on to take a 7-3 win.
Senior lefthander Kevin Gelinas had a terrific start to Saturday’s game by striking out eight batters in four innings. Wallace’s home run in the bottom of the fifth tied the score at 2-2.
“I had two strikes on me,” Wallace said. “I was looking for a pitch I could hit. He threw me a fastball and I just tried to put a good swing on it.”
An RBI in the top of the eighth gave OSU a 3-2 lead, where the score would remain for the rest of the game.
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader went into extra innings after senior Palermo’s solo home run tied the game in the ninth inning, but was postponed due to darkness. UCSB took the Beavers into 12 innings, eventually completing a 13-12 win for the Gauchos’ first victory of the season.
Just a few hours later, Sunday’s regularly scheduled game began. UCSB took an early 2-0 lead in the fourth inning, but allowed five runs in the sixth after Jeremy Peterson gave up a three-run home run and the Beavers took a 5-2 lead. OSU scored three more runs in the eighth inning, before junior righthander Jared Wilson took the mound to give the Gauchos one final bit of defensive momentum. Wilson proceeded to throw Oregon State out in three consecutive batters on a ground out, strikeout and pop fly.
“I tried to establish a fastball,” Wilson said. “I had to get that fastball down for strike one, pound it in and it opens up the door for a breaking ball later.”
Overall the Gauchos finished with a .286 batting average and held the Beavers to just .250. Palermo, Wallace and sophomore infielder Brandon Trinkwon all hit home runs during the series. UCSB pitched with a 3.79 ERA through the weekend, while OSU had an ERA of 3.13.
UCSB allowed OSU to score four or more runs in one inning three different times over the course of the weekend. The four UCSB fielding errors in the final game on Sunday may have been a key factor in the Gauchos’ two-run loss.
“We can limit scoring runs by playing better defense,” Wallace said. “This first series proved to everybody that we can play some competitive baseball.”
UCSB next faces San Jose State on the road in a three-game series this coming weekend.