After an even 2-2 start to their season, the UCSB baseball team hopes to keep improving, while the team heads north to the Bay Area to take on Santa Clara in a three-game show down this weekend.
The Gauchos will look for the starting pitching staff to lead them. The staff needs to improve after getting roughed up by Loyola Marymount this past weekend
Senior hurler James Garcia (0-1) will get the start today in the opening game of the series. Garcia was tagged for five runs in six plus innings of work in his first start and struggled with his command all day as he walked five batters and hit two. If Garcia can consistently throw strikes, the Broncos should be in for a tough game as Garcia only rendered three hits in his last start.
Junior James Dayley (0-0) will be on the hill for the second game and will look to build off his impressive debut. The Utah Valley State College transfer pitched five strong innings against Loyola giving up only two runs while striking out four. In game three sophomore Matt Vasquez (0-1) will take the mound. Vasquez, a freshman All-American last season, also struggled in his first start getting tagged for six runs in four plus innings of work.
As for the offense, the Gauchos will need to show some life. They struggled at the plate batting .207 as a team against LMU. However, UCSB showed some offensive firepower on Tuesday when they put up 12 runs on 14 hits in a win against BYU and improved their team average to .256.
Freshman second baseman Chris Malec leads the Gauchos with a .462 average, followed by junior right fielder Ryan Spilborghs. Another freshman, Matt Wilkerson, has been the biggest supplier of power for the Gauchos smacking two home runs and a triple, while scoring six runs and driving in five.
Santa Clara is coming off a weekend where they took two out of three against No. 17 Fresno State to open their season. The Broncos are led offensively by West Coast Conference/Rawlings Player of the Week Joey Gomes, who is batting .417 with five RBIs, and on the mound by John Redmond, who has a 1-0 record and 1.50 ERA.
Another interesting side-note is that former UCSB pitching coach Tom Myers is now the pitching coach at Santa Clara, so the Gauchos will have an added incentive to play well.