Looking to build a winning streak with only a week before the start of Big West play, the UCSB baseball team fell short against Loyola Marymount on Wednesday, losing 6-4 at Page Stadium in Los Angeles.
[media-credit id=20125 align=”alignleft” width=”250″][/media-credit]With the loss, the Gauchos fall to 11-9 on the season while LMU improves to 15-10. Senior right-handed pitcher Nick Loredo allowed four runs over 2.2 innings, picking up his first loss of the season and bringing his record to 3-1.
“We made some mistakes pitching and they capitalized on them,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “One of the differences is that we weren’t quite as sharp with our rotation, and they were able to get hits with runners on base and score some runs.”
Falling behind 4-0, the Gauchos were able to rally and close the gap, scoring three runs in the third inning. With a man on second, senior third baseman Beck Wheeler drove in the first run with an RBI double. After LMU walked the next batter, senior catcher Dan Camou capitalized, driving in two runs with the Gauchos third double of the inning.
“We put a three-spot on the board and we got back in the game, so I was pleased with that,” Brontsema said. “[LMU] really didn’t make too many mistakes and they played really well.”
The Lions quickly responded however, adding a pair of runs in the sixth inning before UCSB scored its final run in the seventh inning on senior outfielder Ben Edelstein’s double play.
“It was only 4-0 in the third inning and we still had a lot of baseball to play,” Wheeler said. “We tried to make it a competitive game and put together some hits, but we fell short.”
LMU junior left-handed pitcher Ryan Hawthorne closed out the game for the Lions, picking up his eighth save of the year and securing the victory for sophomore righty Aaron Griffin.
“I feel like our energy was a little low early in the game,” Wheeler said. “We played better later in the game but we just couldn’t catch the breaks.”
Camou and Wheeler each had multi-hit games for the Gauchos, but it was not enough to overcome the Lion’s fast start.
UCSB returns home on Friday after five games on the road to take on San Jose State in a three-game series. The Spartans currently stand at 16-7 on the season, winning four of their last six.
“They are a very well coached team, pitch very well and play really good defense,” Brontsema said. “We are going to have our works cut out for us.”
The Gauchos Return Home
Taking the mound for the Gauchos on Friday will be senior right-handed pitcher Jesse Meaux. Meaux holds a 2-2 record on the season in five starts while posting a 4.18 ERA.
“We want to try to gain some momentum going into next weekend against Cal Poly,” Wheeler said. “This is going to be a very important series for us before we get into the Big West.”
Losing twice to the Spartans in last season’s three game series, the Gauchos are hoping for better results this time around. Junior right-handed pitcher Matt Vedo will start for UCSB on Saturday, while senior Greg Davis gets the call on Sunday. Davis leads the Gaucho’s starting rotation with a 3-0 record and a 2.08 ERA.
“They are an outstanding team and have some big wins this year,” Brontsema said. “We are coming right back into the fire come this weekend.”
Brontsema noted how impressed he was with San Jose State’s performance thus far in the season, as they defeated last year’s national runner-up UCLA twice in a three-game series.
“We want to go into Big West play feeling good about what we’ve done,” Brontsema said. “Obviously winning a series against a good team like San Jose State will push us in that direction.”
The series against San Jose State begins on Friday with a scheduled 3 p.m. first pitch. All three games will take place in the Gaucho’s Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.