Baseball / Sports

Gauchos Hit the Road to Face San Jose State

The UCSB baseball team goes on the road to play in its first three-game series of the season tomorrow against San Jose State.

After a solid victory in its opening game of the season against Cal State Bakersfield, the Gauchos will attempt to further build on last game’s performance.

Meanwhile, the Spartans will face the Gauchos after a pair of games earlier in the week against Stanford and Pacific.

In its first games of the year, the Spartans have combined for a batting average of .273, second among teams in the Mountain West, and five players are batting over .300.

San Jose is led by last year’s all-conference selections junior center fielder Andre Mercurio and senior first baseman Matt Carroll. Mercurio led the team in hits last season and is currently hitting .400, while Carroll has the team’s only homerun so far.

Mercurio and Carroll are but a few of the returning players from last season as 14 freshmen make up the Spartans’ 20 man roster. Nine players had first their collegiate appearances for San Jose last weekend in the weekend series against San Diego State.

Among the notable appearances, two started on the mound and three players started in the lineup.

Although UCSB will be playing away from home for the first time this season, the Gauchos have had relative success against the Spartans as of late. UCSB has a winning record against SJSU since 2010, going 9-6 overall and 4-2 when playing at the Spartans’ home field. In its last two seasons UCSB has swept the Spartans.

In its previous game, the Gauchos relied on the arms of their bullpen after starting pitcher, sophomore Dylan Hecht, struggled with his command, giving up four walks and having two wild pitches in four innings played.

Sophomore pitcher Hector Lujan came in relief and pitched three impressive innings, allowing just one runner to get on base and striking out five batters in three innings on the mound. Junior Greg Mahle and sophomore Dillion Tate came in the last two innings in relief.

UCSB was relatively quiet on offense except for a momentum changing homerun by junior first baseman Tyler Kuresa in the third inning. The three-run blast came as Cal State Bakersfield allowed two runners on base after previously not scoring on a bases loaded situation in the top half of the inning.

The homerun was all UCSB needed to secure the win, but added additional runs in the sixth and eighth inning to seal the game.

UCSB will rely on a combination of a deep pitching rotation and small ball to counter San Jose’s home field advantage.

Game time for the first game between the teams is for Friday at 6 p.m., with games on Saturday and Sunday beginning at 1 p.m.

 

This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.

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