After six tough games on the road, the UCSB baseball team will conclude its seven-game road trip on Wednesday when it takes on No. 19 UCLA.
[media-credit name=”Rowan Byers” align=”alignright” width=”210″][/media-credit]The Gauchos, losing two of three at Northridge last week, dropped to 2-4 on their road trip thus far. They look to end it on a good note with a victory against the runner up of last year’s national title.
“Every time you play a good team like that, you’ve got to bring everything you got,” senior right fielder Mark Haddow said. “You have to play your best ball.”
UCSB stands at 20-21 on the season (6-9 Big West) and is hopeful for a third-place conference finish and a postseason birth if they can finish off the season in strong fashion.
“Every game from this point is going to be important for us,” Haddow said. “We need to get back to .500 first of all and then we need to basically win out. It’s huge if we are going to put a winning streak together here at the end.”
UCLA entered Tuesday night’s contest against Long Beach on a five-game winning streak, improving its record to 27-16.
“They’re coming off being in the national championship game,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “They’re an outstanding club, and when you go down and play in someone else’s facility, it makes it that much more challenging.”
Road games have been somewhat of a struggle for the Gauchos, as their record when they play on their opponents’ home field is 4-14. UCLA, meanwhile, has taken care of business at home with a 15-6 record.
Taking the mound for UCSB will be senior right-handed pitcher Nick Loredo. Loredo, who is 3-2 with a 4.03 ERA, made his last start in a 6-4 victory over Northridge on April 26. He pitched three innings in the outing, allowing five hits and two runs.
“It’s a natural feeling when you go against a team that has played this well that you’re a little more amped up than you normally are,” Brontsema said. “It’s a feeling you would like to have going into every game.”
Sophomore right-handed pitcher Scott Griggs will get the call for the Bruins on Wednesday. Griggs made his last start on March 1, allowing one run and six walks in 2.2 innings of work against San Diego State. Making his third start of the season, Griggs is currently 1-0 with a 5.68 ERA.
Haddow leads the offensive attack for the Gauchos with a team-leading five home runs and 35 RBI to go along with his .340 batting average. Senior second baseman Sean Williams leads the team with a .352 average.
By challenging the Bruins at home, UCSB has a chance to make a statement to the rest of the Big West entering the final stretch.
“Our goal all season was to make the postseason,” senior center fielder Ben Edelstein said. “We wish we could take back a few of the games this year, but we can’t. So we just have to go and compete each of our last 11 games and then see if that is good enough to make a postseason.”
First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Wednesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.