The UCSB baseball team was at both its best and its worst this weekend in losing two of three to San Jose State.
The Gauchos (2-2 overall) pounded out ten hits, but were only able to plate two runs in losing 6-2 to the Spartans (3-3) on Friday. Clinging to a 2-1 lead in the sixth inning, junior pitcher Andy Graham walked the leadoff man and allowed the next batter to reach on an error before serving up a three-run homerun to San Jose junior outfielder Donato Giovanatto.
“I was just trying to attack him, especially after the error,” Graham said. “I got strike one on him but he just stuck the bat out there and got it up in the air on what I thought was a good pitch.”
Hopes of a UCSB comeback were stifled in the next inning as the Spartans added two more runs. Senior pitcher and Wallace Watch List member Branden Dewing was solid for San Jose State, allowing two runs through six innings of work.
The Gaucho bats started out hot on Saturday, as the first three batters scored in the bottom of the first inning and UCSB jumped out to a 3-0 lead. Junior pitcher Brian Tracy worked with junior reliever Justin Segal to shut the Spartans out through eight innings
“We executed on both sides of the plate real well,” pitching coach Tom Myers said. “When [Tracy and Segal] are on, they rely on their movement, and they were able to keep the hitters honest and they changed speeds.”
UCSB exploded for a five-run seventh inning to take a commanding 8-1 lead, but allowed the Spartans to make it interesting in the ninth. San Jose State scored four times in their last chance, but the Gauchos held on for an 8-5 victory.
In Sunday’s finale the Spartans took advantage of five Santa Barbara errors, en route to a 10-4 win. Junior pitcher Bryan Fleming gave up six runs in four innings, but only one of the runs was earned. UCSB out-hit the Spartans 14-11 but left eleven men on base.
“We struggled to string hits together,” junior first basemen Robby Blauer said. “Obviously, we’re hitting the ball good, but we just couldn’t put it together. If we keep getting 14 hits a game we’re bound to score runs eventually.”
San Jose State played smart baseball all weekend long, taking advantage of Gaucho mistakes and turning them into runs. UCSB committed eight errors, was called on four balks and issued 17 walks on the weekend.
“They are a very opportunistic team and they take advantage of extra things you give them,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “They aren’t a team that will come out and rack up 20 hits. They are a pitching and defense team, and they manufacture runs, which is exactly what they did against us.”
Santa Barbara takes to the field again on Tuesday when they host USC.