After having wet weather cancel one game, suspend another and ruin numerous practices, it seems ironic that the UCSB baseball team is traveling to Seattle to get out of the rain this weekend.
Washington (5-7) plays host to the Gauchos (8-6) for three games, starting tonight at Husky Ballpark.
The Huskies played their home-opener Wednesday night, after kicking off the season with 11 straight road games, including five games at the Texas A&M Aggie Baseball Classic last weekend. Washington finished the tournament with two wins and three losses, splitting games with Texas A&M and San Diego.
For the third time this season, Santa Barbara heads out on the road. The Gauchos have accumulated a 5-2 road record in trips to Pepperdine, San Jose and Fresno. The confines of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium have not been as kind to UCSB, especially after the Gauchos lost three straight to Oregon State at home last weekend.
“I like our guys on the road,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “I can’t tell you why we play well on the road, but maybe it’s just the different atmosphere — or maybe they just get too comfortable at home.”
UCSB is coming off of an 11-8 win over Cal Poly on Tuesday, which ended its four-game losing streak. The Huskies romped over Division II Saint Martin’s 10-1 in their first home appearance of the season.
Senior third baseman Dave Figoni is the all-around go-to guy for the Gauchos with a team-leading .351 batting average, two home runs and 15 runs scored. Sophomore shortstop Chris Valaika went one for four with two RBI against Cal Poly and leads the team with five doubles. With 17 RBI, senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson can claim the top spot on the Gaucho squad, as well.
“[Tuesday’s] win was huge,” senior righthander Loren Fraser said. “We have Washington this weekend; we want to take two out of three from them, so this game was huge for our momentum.”
The Gauchos will attempt to stifle the Husky bats with their regular weekend starting trio of juniors Steve Morlock and Michael Martin and sophomore Andy Graham. In his four appearances, Graham leads starters with a 4.12 ERA and a 2-1 record.
First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 tonight and 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday in Seattle. Santa Barbara returns to California for a midweek game next Wednesday at Cal Poly.