After a disappointing 0-3 performance against Cal Poly on the road this past weekend, the UCSB baseball team returns home for a non-conference, solo-game series against USC. It will be the first time the Gauchos face the Trojans since a 5-4 win on the road on April 18.
With just five games left in the season, none of which feature Big West competitors, UCSB will look to improve upon its 24-27 record in hopes of breaking the .500 mark. The Gauchos are currently 10-14 in conference, which places them in the No. 8 seed in the league, just above University of the Pacific (3-18).
The Trojans, who compete in the Pac-12 conference, stand at No. 10 in league with an 8-19 Pac-12 record and a 23-27 mark overall. USC has dropped 10 of its last 11 games, five of which were lost on the road.
UCSB is on a four-game losing streak dating back to last Sunday, May 13, when they fell in the final game of a three-game series to Cal State Fullerton at home. The Gauchos have lost eight of their past nine games, six of which were lost on the road and all of which were Big West Conference series.
Leading the Gauchos all season has been junior outfielder Brett Vertigan, who currently ranks atop the league in batting average with a .381 mark and is No. 2 with a .448 on-base percentage and 83 hits.
USC is led by senior infielder Matt Foat, No. 1 on the team with a .344 batting average. Foat’s .467 slugging percentage also leads the Trojans, and in the last meeting between the two teams, Foat was able to go two-for-five with one run.
That mid-April meeting at USC saw what many assumed to be a game controlled by the Trojan defense. UCSB was led 4-1 through eight innings, yet was able to put together a run in the top of the ninth to tie the game and force extra innings.
With two outs in the top of the 12th inning, a single by freshman infielder Peter Maris sent Vertigan across home plate, securing the win for UCSB.
UCSB sent five different pitchers to the mound during the 12-inning game, including senior lefthander Kevin Gelinas, who opened the game’s first two innings by allowing no runs and tallying four strikeouts. Junior righthander Jared Wilson, who ranks No. 2 on the team with a 3.21 ERA, followed up by allowing two runs and four hits in 2.1 innings.
Senior righthander Matt Vedo threw for two runs and one hit in two innings, while freshman righthander Dalton Douty allowed one hit in one inning and freshman lefthander Greg Mahle was credited with the win for his three-hit, four-strikeout performance in four innings.
First pitch is set for 3 p.m. today at Caesar Uyesaka stadium.