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UCSB’s disappointing 1-2 showing against Loyola Marymount University this past weekend will transition into a solo-game series against visiting Cal State Bakersfield today at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos beat LMU in the second of the three-game series by a score of 10-2 but lost in the first (9-5) and second (7-5) games of the weekend.
“We played well, we competed hard, we just made too many mistakes,” senior outfielder Joey Wallace said. “As a team we gotta play better team defense, and as a pitching staff we gotta throw more strikes.”
The Gauchos now sit at 6-5 on the season with a surprising 2-5 home record and remain an undefeated 4-0 on the road.
UCSB out-hit the Lions throughout the weekend series, yet a combination of unlucky bounces and base-running blunders yielded Gaucho losses in the first and third games. In Sunday’s series tiebreaker, the Gauchos took LMU into extra innings as part of a furious comeback after being down 5-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning. However three straight bunts allowed two CSUB runners to advance to scoring position, where they would eventually be hit home for the game winning runs.
“The whole game we didn’t execute and they executed bunts,” junior outfielder Brett Vertigan said. “The better bunting team that day won that game.”
Bakersfield enters today’s game after a 2-1 outing against Portland last weekend, in which CSUB freshman outfielder Jordie Hein hit a solid .556 while his teammate senior infielder DC Legg hit .545. The Roadrunners are currently 6-6 on the season and are yet to win a game on the road. CSUB lost both of its road games against UNLV, 4-3 and 15-6.
Bakersfield outscored Portland 19-6 in the three games over the weekend, a stat that may give the CSUB offense an extra dose of confidence coming into today’s game.
“Any time you win a series on a weekend you have some momentum going into the week,” Wallace said.
Vertigan will help the Gaucho offense try to sway this momentum from behind the plate. He was recently named Big West Player of the Week and enters today’s game batting .490 with a .545 on-base percentage. Combined with the solo game against Fresno State last week and the recent series against LMU, Vertigan has batted 12-18 with three stolen bases and seven runs scored. In Saturday’s 10-2 victory over LMU, Vertigan led all hitters with a 4-4 effort, two doubles and three stolen bases.
“We just need to take [today’s game] as a Friday night game and make sure we give all our effort,” Vertigan said. “[We can’t] take it as just a tuesday because those games are just as important.”
First pitch is set for 2 p.m.