The UCSB baseball team struggled to find its stroke and left its gloves on the bus yesterday in Malibu.
The Gauchos (15-18 overall, 2-4 Big West) committed five errors and mustered only six hits, losing to Pepperdine 8-1. The squad has now lost five of its last six.
“We didn’t really do much well,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “You never like to go out and play that poorly. Quite frankly, Pepperdine outplayed us in every facet. The errors were definitely part of it, but we just didn’t play that well.”
The five errors led to four unearned runs for the Waves who recorded their fourth straight win. Three of the errors came in the bottom of the seventh when Pepperdine scored five runs, three unearned, to put the game away.
Junior pitcher Brian Tracy kept UCSB in the game before exiting after five innings. Tracy limited the Waves to three runs, two earned, but couldn’t get any support from the Gaucho offense and fell to 1-6 on the year.
“[Tracy] competed and kept us in the game and that’s what we ask of him,” Brontsema said. “We didn’t back him up offensively, but he pitched well enough to keep us in the game to win.”
Freshman catcher Chris McMurray was the lone Gaucho to register more than one hit. The offensive struggles came one game after Santa Barbara scored 16 runs on 14 hits in a win over Pacific, one of its best offensive performances of the season.
“I thought they pitched pretty well,” Brontsema said. “They made a couple of really nice plays with runners on, made a play against [senior center fielder Matt] Emerick that probably would have scored two runs. They didn’t give up extra opportunities and commanded the strike zone pretty well.”
Junior reliever Justin Segal suffered most from the Gauchos’ defensive woes, allowing three runs, all of which were unearned. After replacing senior reliever Andrew Schoneberger in the seventh, Segal got sophomore shortstop Danny Worth to hit a grounder to junior shortstop Chris Valaika. But Valaika’s throw was off target and Emerick contributed another throwing error on the play allowing one run to score.
“We just need to play well and that’s what I told the guys after the game,” Brontsema said. “We need to execute behind the plate and on the mound to win.”
Big West play resumes this weekend as UCSB travels UC Irvine for a three-game series.