After the UCSB baseball team had their weekend series against Oregon State postponed due to rain, the club travels to Westwood today to face UCLA in a one-game matchup.
The Gauchos are eager to get back to .500, especially after losing two out of three to San Jose State.
“I feel like we still have something to prove,” senior shortstop Jeff Bannon said. “We were looking forward to winning some games this weekend against Oregon State, so we’re ready to play.”
As bad as the weather has been lately in Santa Barbara, it has been just as awful in Los Angeles, with rain still likely in the city today. Jackie Robinson Stadium is in poor condition because of the inclement weather, leaving open the possibility that the game will be moved to Wednesday. Despite the uncertainty, senior third baseman Dave Molidor says the Gauchos will come out rested and ready to go.
“UCLA is usually strong,” Molidor said. “We know that we’ve just got to go down there and play well if we’re going to come away with a win.”
Santa Barbara will bring a strong lineup to Westwood, with first baseman Tyler Von Schell leading the way. Von Schell went 7-11 against the Spartans, including two home runs and six RBI’s. All-Big West selections Molidor and senior second baseman Chad Peshke will also lead UCSB to the plate against the Bruins.
The Gauchos will send junior James Garcia to the mound, but due to the rainout over the weekend, each Santa Barbara starter will pitch only about two innings. Garcia, as well as senior Rylie Ogle and junior Jim Bullard will be going against a powerful Bruins lineup. But the starting rotation will still come with confidence, according to Garcia.
“They always have good talent at UCLA, but we are not worried,” Garcia said. “I don’t usually get nervous out there; usually, I have too much adrenaline, if anything.”
UCSB knows that it will have to improve its fielding to compete with UCLA, since the Gauchos committed 12 errors against SJSU. Santa Barbara was unable to practice over the weekend, but Molidor says that the Gauchos worked out some fielding problems last week, and should perform much better in the field today.
“We did some fundamental drills [to work on fielding], but really nothing different,” Molidor said. “Sometimes you just have bad weekends and I’m sure we’ll improve against UCLA.”