The UCSB baseball team has the opportunity to increase its four-game win streak to seven this weekend when Loyola Marymount comes to town for a three-game series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos are returning from a 7-1 routing of Fresno State on the road last Tuesday.
“We had as many hits  as we had strike-outs,” Head Coach Andrew Checketts said. “The guys did a good job.”
Of UCSB’s 14 strikeouts, 10 came from senior righthander Matt Vedo, who pitched his best game of the season thus far. Vedo’s play brought his ERA down to 1.80 on the season.
“His swagger was on,” Checketts said. “He was able to throw strikes early in the count. He was pretty much dominating for seven innings.”
The Gauchos enter today’s game having beaten Fresno State in a one-game series and San Jose State in a three-game series, all on the road. Coming back to play at home will give UCSB the opportunity to improve on its 1-3 home record, a product of a four-game series against then-No. 23 Oregon State at the beginning of the season.
UCSB’s play has improved since its battle with the Beavers, in which Gaucho errors gave up costly runs throughout the weekend.
“We’ve put a lot of work into defense over the course of the week,” Checketts said of UCSB practices prior to the San Jose and Fresno State games. “We did a lot more game speed drills during the week to get used to the speed of the game, rather than drills.”
The training worked. After giving up nine errors in four games during the Oregon State series, the Gauchos offered just two in three games against San Jose State.
On the mound for UCSB today will be freshman lefthander Andrew Vasquez, who has allowed just eight hits in 12 innings pitched.
“Andrew’s gonna throw a bunch of sliders and strikes,” Checketts said. “[He’ll] try to get guys to chase fastballs up.”
Saturday’s game will see freshman righthander Austin Pettibone handle the toss. Pettibone currently has seven strikeouts on the season with a 2.25 ERA.
“Pettibone is a fastball man,” Checketts said. “He’s successful by moving his fastball around the zone … and throwing changeups when he’s behind in the count.”
First pitch today is set for 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday’s games are slated for 1 p.m.