After an inspiring victory at UCLA this past Tuesday, things did not quite go as hoped this weekend for the UCSB baseball team as No. 17 UC Irvine swept the Gauchos in a three-game series.
[media-credit name=”Kenneth Song” align=”alignleft” width=”195″][/media-credit]Freshman lefthander Cameron Cuneo was ran out early by the Anteaters in just his second start of the season on Sunday, as UCSB capped off the series with a 4-2 loss.
“We’ve got to bounce back,” senior right fielder Mark Haddow said. “There’s not much we can take from this series. We made a lot of mistakes.”
With the loss, the Gauchos fall to 21-24 on the season (6-12 Big West) while Irvine remains in second place in conference with a 34-13 record (13-5 Big West).
Cuneo pitched two innings for the Gauchos, allowing two runs before senior righthander Nick Loredo relieved him. Loredo allowed two runs over six innings, but despite his efforts, UCSB could not salvage a victory.
“There wasn’t really a lot of highlights in this,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “Mark Haddow played extremely well and continues to play extremely well. I thought we competed against a very good team; in these last two games in particular.”
Haddow led the Gauchos on Sunday, going 3-4 and driving in a run with a solo home run in the sixth inning, his sixth of the year. Junior left fielder Joe Wallace drove in the Gaucho’s first run with a single in the fourth inning.
Saturday’s result was no better for the Gauchos as they let an early 4-3 lead give way to a 7-4 loss. Junior righthander Matt Vedo pitched 4.2 innings for the Gauchos, allowing six runs as Irvine scored three runs in the third and fifth innings.
Friday was the worst showing for the Gauchos as Irvine struck early and often, winning 9-2. Senior righthander Greg Davis pitched 5 innings while giving up eight runs and 11 hits to the Anteaters.
“That’s one of the things that makes them strong,” Brontsema said. “If you make a mistake they’re just going to keep coming; it’s borderline torture the way they keep coming at you.”
Irvine has now won four in a row and eight out of their last nine games, showing they belong at the top of the Big West. Sunday’s starter, junior righthander Crosby Slaught, pitched six and allowed two runs, while Friday starter, junior righthander Matt Summers also gave up two runs in his seven innings of work.
“Irvine is known for their pitching,” Haddow said. “They are going to work in and out and throw their pitches for strikes. We just didn’t capitalize on it.”
With postseason aspirations out of sight now for the Gauchos, their focus is now turned to finishing the season off with a show of strength.
“We’re not looking at any postseason bids at this point but we are still looking to go out and compete and play hard,” Brontsema said. “We’ve got 14 seniors who will be completing their careers and no one wants to go out on a negative note.”