When everything clicks, it tends to make a loud sound.
In their last six games, everything from pitching to hitting to fielding has been clicking for the UCSB baseball team and the result has been one boisterous six-game winning streak. In their recent run, the Gauchos have out-scored their opponents 86-19, an awfully encouraging discrepancy for UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema.
“We’ve pitched extremely well, and when your offense goes out there and feels it doesn’t have to score, it really takes the pressure off the offense and everybody’s better off.” Brontsema said.
Today at 2 p.m., the Gauchos will face Sacramento State up north and try to extend their string of wins to eight behind sophomore pitching ace Michael Martin. Martin (7-0, 3.02 ERA) has yet to suffer a loss but will face one of his toughest tests of the season going up against junior right-hander Ethan Katz (6-1, 2.95).
The game will be the first of a three-game series that will also feature starting freshman pitcher Andy Graham on Saturday and sophomore Steve Morlock on Sunday.
Sacramento State (19-16) is coming off a four-game win streak over the University of the Pacific and will send junior Warren Rosebock (4-3, 3.84) to the mound Saturday, while selecting freshman Justin Deme as the probable starter Sunday.
Santa Barbara’s offense has demonstrated zen-like patience at the plate over their recent dominant stretch. After tying the school record March 25 against Cornell with 13 free passes, the Gauchos watched the Loyola Marymount University pitching staff allow 15 bases on balls. Santa Barbara’s patience, along with timely hitting up and down the order, has been producing runs at a frightening pace.
What has made the recent stretch special has been the fortitude of the Gaucho seniors. Senior catcher Taylor Vogt has been a staple for the Gauchos, hitting .333 with a .589 slugging percentage while managing an ever-improving pitching staff. Perhaps the most impressive performance to date for the Gauchos has been the hitting of first baseman/designated hitter Greg Powers. Powers has solidified himself a spot in the everyday lineup by hitting .394 and getting on base more than half the time.
“The biggest thing about [Powers and Vogt] has been their ability to hit left-handed pitching so that they’re able to stay in the lineup against lefties,” Brontsema said.