The UCSB baseball team returns home this weekend to face Oregon State in its second series of the season.
After dropping two out of three games on the road to San Jose State, the Gauchos hope that playing at home will get them in the right gear. Santa Barbara is forced to open the series with a doubleheader Saturday, which is not the way Head Coach Bob Brontsema would prefer to begin the home schedule.
“Doubleheaders are not ideal and make for really long days,” Brontsema said. “[The games] are usually split, which is not what you want when you’re looking to win as many games as possible.”
Despite the difficulty of playing three games in two days, the Gauchos expect to play well, hoping to continue their offensive explosion of the first series. UCSB displayed a potent lineup against the Spartans, hitting .378 as a team and scoring a combined 32 runs.
The Gauchos know that this type of run production isn’t easy to come by, and they hope that they won’t have to rely on scoring that many runs in every series.
“You can’t expect to average 10 runs every game,” senior second baseman Chad Peshke said. “But we’ll just go out there and play hard and play however the game dictates.”
UCSB will send James Garcia, Rylie Ogle and Jim Bullard to the mound in the three-game set, hoping to get repeat performances from Garcia and Ogle. Bullard, however, is looking to rebound from a poor showing against the Spartans in which he allowed nine runs in two and two-thirds innings.
“I think this is the best lineup and best pitching staff that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” senior third baseman Dave Molidor said. “We just didn’t play up to our potential [against San Jose State].”
Santa Barbara put in a full week of practice to prepare for the Beavers, specifically working to improve on its fielding. UCSB committed 12 errors against SJSU, leading to nine unearned Spartan runs. Brontsema knows that the Gauchos must cut down on their fielding miscues if they are to defeat Oregon State.
“We had three good practices this week, with an emphasis on defense and pitching,” Brontsema said. ” We put an emphasis on all the things that we needed to work on, and I think we’ve improved in all areas.”