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UCSB baseball returns from Spring Break with a 14-12 overall record and a 2-1 start in Big West Conference play. On Sunday, the Gauchos beat UC Riverside in the final game of a three-game series. UCSB took the home series 2-1 with winning scores of 5-3 and 3-1, and lost on Saturday 4-1.
“That was a good team we played,” junior right-hander Jared Wilson said. “It was a good win to get off our backs.”
Sunday’s low-scoring game was due in part to the talented pitching performances of both squads. UCSB’s senior left-hander Zak Edgington got the start on Sunday, allowing just one run through seven innings.
“Zak has been a workhorse for us, he deserved the start,” Wilson said.
Meanwhile UCR’s Trevor Frank gave up two runs in his seven innings, one of which was earned.
“[Trevor] has a great sinking fastball,” Wilson said. “He’s not that big or tall so you wouldn’t guess it, but he has great command of the slider and low fastball.”
With a 1-1 tie and the bases loaded in the eighth inning, UCSB senior outfielder Joey Wallace stepped to the plate to face UCR’s reliever Ben Doucette. Doucette hit Wallace with a pitch to send a UCSB base runner through home plate, giving the Gauchos a 2-1 lead and the eventual win.
UCSB was out-hit in the game 9-6, and gave up no errors to UCR’s two.
The Gauchos get a break from league play today for a solo-game series against visiting Cal State Bakersfield, a team that has won just one game on the road.
That game, however, was against UCSB at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in March.
The Roadrunners are otherwise a winless 0-10 on the road this season, including four games where they were held to one run or less. CSU Bakersfield has won four of its past five games, all of which were played at home.
On March 6, CSUB visited Caesar Uyesaka and went home with a 7-6 victory. The Gauchos out-hit the Roadrunners 12-7 that game, with four different players collecting two or more hits, but it wasn’t enough.
The UCSB pitching staff sent six hit batters to the bases and walked an additional six more, allowing CSUB to take advantage of the lack of strikes throughout the game.
“Defense has a direct correlation to throwing strikes,” junior outfielder Brett Vertigan said. “If our pitchers can keep attacking the strike zone it’ll keep our defenders on our feet.”
CSUB is led by sophomore infielder Oscar Sanay on the offensive end. Sanay currently holds a .367 batting average with 36 hits in 26 games and a .398 slugging percentage. Closely following is senior infielder DC Legg, who boasts a .309 batting average and 25 hits through 24 games.
Vertigan leads the Gaucho offense with a .391 batting average and 45 hits through 26 games this season. Freshman left-hander Andrew Vasquez has had a standout season thus far on the mound for UCSB, and currently holds a 1.26 ERA through 43 innings in seven starts.
First pitch is set for 3 p.m. today at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.