Hoping to maintain the momentum from Tuesday night’s 15-inning victory over Pepperdine, UCSB will host Big West foe Long Beach State in a three-game series starting today.
[media-credit name=”Daily Nexus File Photo” align=”alignright” width=”250″][/media-credit]With the victory, UCSB is 15-16 (2-4 Big West) on the season. The team resumes Big West play against Long Beach after being swept by Fullerton in a devastating three-game series over the weekend.
Long Beach currently stands at 18-16 (5-4 Big West) after winning two out of three against Riverside at home.
“It’s going to be another tough series just like Fullerton,” senior right-fielder Mark Haddow said. “We got them at home though and we know we play tough at home. I am very confident that we will be able to take the series from them.”
Haddow’s crucial home run ended a tough losing streak for the Gauchos, in which they lost all four games each by a single run. The 15-inning contest tied the longest game in the school’s history and stands alone as the longest ever at Caesar Uyesaka.
“We’re going to go home and get some rest and come out ready to rock on Thursday,” Haddow said. “Baseball is one of those sports that you have to be ready to play every day.”
Taking the mound today will be senior right-hander Jesse Meaux, who has a 3.91 ERA on the season to go along with a 2-4 record in eight starts. His 50.2 innings pitched are second most for UCSB.
The Gauchos will rely on their starters to get deep into the games in order to give the bullpen rest as seven relievers were used over 10.2 innings on Tuesday.
“We used a lot of arms, and the only guy we really overused was [Nick] Capito,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We have a lot of decisions to make before we get to Thursday. This was not exactly an ideal situation with 15 innings in a short week. Time will tell, we will see how it goes and how we respond.”
Meaux will be facing Long Beach junior right-hander Andrew Gagnon, whose 2.20 ERA is fourth in the conference for pitchers who have gone over 25 innings. Gagnon has a 4-4 record in his 57.1 innings of work.
Starting for UCSB on Friday will be senior right-hander Greg Davis who holds a 3.61 ERA and a 3-2 record. Saturday’s starter will be junior right-hander Matt Vedo, currently 3-4 with a 4.56 ERA.
Senior Nick Capito, who pitched 4.1 innings of relief for a victory against Pepperdine, noted the importance of the victory for the upcoming series.
“I’m not going to beat around the bush, I wanted them to score really bad and we needed the win,” Capito said. “I’m lucky Mark [Haddow] came up big in that last at bat. It was good stuff.”
UCSB is happy to have the next four games at home, as they now hold a 12-4 record at home compared to a dismal 2-10 mark on the road. The Gauchos certainly have a home field advantage when surrounded by their fans.
Game one of the series kicks off at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium today. First-pitch is scheduled for 3 p.m.