The road woes continued for the UCSB baseball team this weekend as the squad dropped two of three matches against Loyola Marymount.
The Gauchos (4-8 overall) took the series opener on Friday 4-3, but the Lions (6-11) battled back to win 2-0 on Saturday and 9-4 in Sunday’s rubber match. Santa Barbara now has a 1-5 road record after being swept by Cal last weekend.
“I thought we were playing well and felt we matched up pretty well with them,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We’re definitely disappointed that we didn’t come away with a series win.”
Friday’s opener was tied at three in the 10th when it was postponed until Saturday due to insufficient light. Junior starter Andy Graham allowed LMU to jump out to a 3-0 first inning lead before settling down and tossing seven scoreless innings.
“[Graham] picked it up,” Brontsema said. “He shut them down from then on and gave us a chance to win, which is what you ask of your starter every time out.”
Freshman catcher Chris McMurray plated the winning run for UCSB in the top of the 11th after pinch running for junior catcher Matt McColgan, who was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. Freshman left fielder Brian Gump brought home McMurray with a RBI single.
The pitchers took the spotlight on Saturday as Marymount sophomore starter Andy Beal and freshman reliever Brian Wilson worked together to limit the Gauchos to six hits in the shutout. Junior starter Brian Tracy was nearly unhittable through the first seven innings, allowing only five hits, but was removed after issuing a leadoff walk in the bottom of the eighth inning. Freshman reliever Clayton Edwards served up a game-winning RBI double to the next batter.
“Anytime you give up two runs you want to win those games,” Brontsema said. “We’re not swinging the bats like we’re capable of and not producing offensively.”
UCSB wasted no time getting on the board on Sunday thanks to first inning RBIs from junior first basemen Robby Blauer and McColgan to take a 2-0 lead. The Gauchos added two more runs in the fifth, upping the lead to four runs before surrendering eight runs in the fifth. Loyola Marymount belted out three doubles and a triple in the inning, while the Gauchos walked in two runs and committed an error.
“We just broke down and couldn’t keep the inning small,” Brontsema said. “There were a couple walks and an error and all of a sudden it kind of blew up in our face. We only had two bad innings out of 27 all weekend, and you would think we’d win more than one game after that.”
The Gauchos have yet to win a series this season, but still have a chance as six of the next seven games are in Santa Barbara. Big West play kicks off next weekend as UCSB faces Cal Poly with two games in Santa Barbara and one in San Luis Obispo.