With tons of momentum gained from the three-game win streak, the Gauchos, now 10-12 on the year, will square off against a very hot Long Beach St. team coming in at 14-10 for a 3-game home series here at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium starting Friday at 3 p.m.
Currently, on this 11-game home stand, the Gauchos are 5-2, winning two series against Stony Brook and New Mexico St., and it’s first midweek game Tuesday against Pepperdine. The Chos’ have scored a staggering 48 runs and allowed just 28 in these seven home games.
The biggest problem in the beginning of the season for the Gauchos was a struggling offense. In February, the Gauchos hit .225 with an on-base percentage of .332 and a slugging percentage of .328. Now? The Gauchos are absolutely raking. Their team average has gone up 44 points (.269) as well as both their OBP (22 points, .354) and SLG percentage (54 points, .386) as a result of from a sweet-swinging March.
Now, the Gauchos are absolutely raking. Their team average has gone up 44 points (.269) as well as both their OBP (22 points, .354) and SLG percentage (54 points, .386) as a result of from a sweet-swinging March.
In this month alone the Gauchos have completed a turnaround on offense, hitting an impressive .293 with a .366 OBP and slugging .418. As stated before, hitting is contagious, and this group of guys could not have picked a better time to catch this fever as they head into conference.
On top of a firing-on-all-cylinders offense, UCSB’s starters have been pitching with authority as well. Besides a rough outing from ace Noah Davis last weekend, starters Kyle Nelson, Chris Clements, and Ben Bretch are coming off their best outings of the year as they head into the series against the Dirt Bags.
The only real concern is in every one of the great performances each ace threw their highest pitch counts of the season and went later into games than ever before. Regardless, UCSB has all the momentum of both sides of the ball going into this series, which could turn out to be a difference maker throughout Big West play this year.
However, the month of March was not all smiles for UCSB. The Gauchos will need to replace the productivity of the great junior shortstop Clay Fisher who is out for the year after undergoing Tommy John Surgery, and previous Sunday ace starter Joe Record.
Despite the home team hosting this series with a ton of momentum on its side, Long Beach State is certainly has been producing as of late as well. In their past 10 games, Long Beach St. has gone 8-2 with a big win against No. 4 TCU and an even bigger series sweep of Cal State Fullerton whom were ranked 6
In their past 10 games, LBSU has gone 8-2 including big victories against No. 4 TCU and an even bigger series sweep of Cal State Fullerton whom were ranked 6th in the country prior to those loses.
With these statement-making victories, some may argue the Dirtbags have more going for them heading into this series against the Chos’, however, these people would be wrong. In fact, Long Beach St. has several things actually working against them this weekend that others might not see.
During their past 10 games, five of LBSU’s eight wins have come from very close games with scores within at least two runs of each other. Each of these five wins could have gone either way, but to the Dirtbags credit, they know how to win close games with their entire team.
Nobody in particular has been amazing. Regardless, the big three hitters to watch out for are Ramsey Romano (.360, 1 HR, 14 RBI), Lucas Tancas (.347, 2 HR, 11 RBI), and David Banueios (.312, 4 HR, 17 RBI) as these guys have been consistent all season long for the most part.
For their starters, only one has an ERA below 4, which belongs to Junior RHP Darren McCaughan (3.48 ERA, 41.1 IP, 16 ER, 5 HR, 37 SO). The Dirt Bag’s pitching overall has been less than impressive.
The away record for the Dirt Bags is something to be weary of as well. Long Beach is 5-9 on the road this year, while the Gauchos have held an impressive record at home of 8-3.
But how about this, the most impactful part of this weekend’s matchup might not even have anything to do with the Gauchos. The Dirtbags have played a total of five games in five days. When they play UCSB? Well, that will be six games in six days. By the end of the series, Long Beach St. will have played eight games in eight days. Without a doubt, the Dirt Bags will be playing tired baseball. Their pitching staff is already heavily used up before this series even begins and their position players will be on heavy legs on defense and in the box. The scheduling and timing of this series
By the end of the series, Long Beach St. will have played eight games in eight days and will without a doubt have a negative impact on Long Beach State. Their pitching staff is already heavily used up before this series even begins and their position players will be on heavy legs on defense and in the box. The scheduling and timing of this series is going to help out the Gauchos exponentially.
UCSB faces LBSU to begin Big West conference play at 3 p.m. on Friday, March 31st at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.