The Gauchos probably wish they had spent their Cinco de Mayo weekend at home with a case of Corona.

The UCSB baseball team went down in flames this weekend while Riverside swept them. The three losses, by scores of 11-2, 3-2, and 9-5, disheartened a team that had hoped to take advantage of several players returning from injury for the second-to-last series that Santa Barbara will play at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this year. Instead, the Gauchos dropped to 17-29, a season-worst twelve games under .500, with an abysmal 3-12 conference record, while Riverside ran their record to 27-21 and 7-8 in the Big West.

“It’s very frustrating and disappointing,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. ” We just weren’t able to make the necessary adjustments. It’s tough to explain. These guys have been busting their tails and doing their best, but it just hasn’t been enough.”

The team was clearly out of sync all weekend, beginning on Friday afternoon, when the Highlanders blasted the Gauchos 11-2. Sophomore starter Matt Vasquez (4-7) lost his sixth straight decision, getting shelled for nine runs on eight hits in less than three innings of work. The rest of the team wasn’t much better, as the defense committed three errors and the offense was only able to knock out seven hits. Highlanders starter AJ Shappi (6-3) picked up the win, allowing only two runs on six hits in seven innings. Shappi struck out eight men and walked only two, completely quieting the Gauchos’ bats.

UCSB’s pitching was able to bounce back on Saturday, thanks to junior lefty Sean Thompson (2-3), who allowed only three runs in eight innings of work while striking out five batters. Unfortunately, those three runs were too many, as Highlanders starter Chris Smith (8-6) completely shut down the Gauchos, allowing just two runs on six hits and striking out nine while tossing his seventh complete game of the season and dealing UCSB a 3-2 loss.

Santa Barbara’s bats revived and showed promise early on Sunday, as three Gauchos bashed early home runs. UCSB found itself down 5-0 in the second, but freshman outfielder Matt Wilkerson lashed a solo homer, his fifteenth of the season, and senior pitcher James Garcia, who was filling in at designated hitter, launched a three-run blast to cut the deficit to one. Junior Ryan Spilborghs would truck another round-tripper – his thirteenth of the season – in the next inning. After Spilborghs took UCR to the watershed, the well ran dry. Riverside starter Matt Thiessen (5-1) settled down and struck out eleven batters in seven innings to earn a 9-5 win. Gauchos’ senior Matt Moran (1-3) took the loss, allowing seven runs on five hits in two and a third innings.

“It was a difficult weekend,” Spilborghs said. “From the top to bottom we didn’t execute. We have to keep working hard and come out and bust our butts.”

The entire team struggled throughout the weekend, as the Gauchos struck out 31 times during the three-game set. A main bright spot was Wilkerson’s home run, which broke the Big West Freshman record previously held by San Diego Padre Phil Nevin.

“It’s a pretty good record,” Brontsema said. “We’ve had a lot of good players in this conference.”

“I’m a Padres fan,” Wilkerson said, “so its pretty cool to break Phil Nevin’s record. It would have been nice to pick up a W though.”

Santa Barbara’s next opportunity to pick up a win will be Friday, when the team travels to Stockton to take on the University of Pacific.