Ready or not, here they come.
After an onslaught of wet weather, a postponed game and one practice session this week, the UCSB baseball team plays host to Oregon this weekend.
The Gauchos (7-3) have won their first three series of the season after their 2-1 series win at Fresno last weekend. The competition gets tougher this weekend — Oregon arrives in Santa Barbara with just one loss in its first seven games.
Starting pitching has been the key for the Beavers blistering start. Freshmen Jonah Nickerson and Dallas Buck and sophomore Anton Maxwell have combined to allow just six earned runs in their 29 innings combined.
“[The Beavers] are very good. They’re very hot right now,” Santa Barbara Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “I know they have some quality arms. These will be some of the better arms we’re going to face this season, so this will be a great test.”
The Gauchos counter with five starters batting over .300. Current Big West Player of the Week, senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson, paces UCSB with 15 RBI, and junior Matt Emerick leads the Gauchos with a .359 average.
Even with all of the offensive output, UCSB is still looking to gain consistency throughout its lineup. The Gauchos have a tough task ahead of them with the Beavers’ pitching staff featuring a combined 1.80 ERA.
“We need to get everyone on track,” Brontsema said. “We’ve had different guys having hot weekends, but we want to get everyone hitting.”
Meanwhile, the Oregon bats are definitely not lacking. The Beavers hold a .341 team batting average and have scored 60 runs on the season, while holding opponents to just 17.
The three-game series kicks off today at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2 p.m. and 1 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.