After being snubbed by Davis for the playoffs and in regular season play in their 2008 campaign – the Gauchos dropped an 18-14 rubber match in the two teams’ series last season before being overlooked in favor of UCD for playoff selection – a motivated UCSB team is without question heading up north with a little revenge on its mind.
“We definitely want to go in and take it to them,” senior center fielder Brian Gump said.
UC Davis headed to the postseason last year as one of four teams representing the conference in the playoffs, but as of now is dead last in the Big West with a 5-21 overall record, still without a win against a conference opponent. Though their record would indicate that the 2009 Aggies are the bottom feeders in an extremely competitive Big West, Santa Barbara (17-9 overall, 3-3 in the Big West) will by no means take its opponent lightly after two hard-fought weekend matchups with Northridge and Pacific.
“Although they [the Aggies] are down this year, we’ve seen that any team in the Big West can be a real threat,” Gump said. “We have to go in and take it game by game if we’re trying to get the sweep.”
If the Gauchos want to bust out the brooms in cow town, the starting pitching will need to return to form after totaling a higher earned run count (16) than innings pitched (14) last weekend. The turnaround of the “Big Three” will start with junior right hander Joe Gardner on Friday.
“This is the weekend for our starters to bounce back,” Gump said. “They didn’t have their best stuff against Pacific, but if we put up runs behind them they should be ready to go.”
The UCSB offense will need to continue its formula of balanced production throughout the lineup to give the starting pitching a comfort zone to work with.
“It seems like when a couple guys get hot, we all start hitting, and once that gets going its fun to watch. Sometimes I feel like the bottom of the lineup is even stronger than the top.”