The UCSB baseball team is 2-1 after one weekend of baseball and will ride its two game winning streak into this weekend’s home opening series against the University of San Francisco. The Gauchos get their first taste of home field action this year after the original home opener Tuesday against UCLA was rescheduled due to weather.
The Dons are 1-3 so far this season after defeating San Francisco State University on Wednesday for their first win of the season. USF won the contest 10-5 thanks in large part to senior outfielder Mitchell Rowan and junior designated hitter Zachary Turner who each drove in three runs. The Dons rallied for 17 hits to jump start their offense after they had previously lost their first three games to Cal Poly in a weekend sweep. Turner has started the season hot as he has collected hits in each of his first four games and has recorded five RBI over his last two.
The San Francisco offense will come up against a slightly different weekend pitching staff than the Gauchos ran out last weekend. Sophomore pitcher Austin Pettibone’s performance last weekend has earned him today’s start in the first home game of the year for UCSB.
“We are changing our rotation a little bit this weekend,” Checketts said. “We are going with Pettibone on Friday, [Justin] Jacome and [Kenny] Chapman on Saturday and [to be announced] on Sunday.”
The Gaucho offense will look to stay hot this weekend and carry over the momentum from last weekend’s showing where they put up eight and 11 runs in consecutive games.
“It is going to be important for us to build off of what we did last weekend; we had a great bounce back last weekend after losing the first game and coming back strong the next two games,” senior third baseman Marc Venning said. “[San Francisco] is going to want to beat us. So we need to play our game and not worry about the other team because if we focus on what we have to do usually it is going to wind up good for us.”
Last Saturday, Venning helped the Gauchos to an 8-1 victory with two hits, a double and two RBI. Sophomore Joe “Woody” Woodward came away with the best line from last weekend going 3-6 with three runs, three RBI and two stolen bases.
In the one loss this season, the Gauchos made four errors on defense leading to three unearned runs. Sophomore pitcher Andrew Vasquez and senior Jared Wilson threw 88 and 98 pitches respectively in that game.
“I think we are extremely solid defensively. We have guys at every single position that are able to make not only the normal plays but the extraordinary plays.” Venning said. “It was nothing to do with talent or ability, I just think it had to do with the jitters and I think we got that out of our system the first night.”
Game one of the four game weekend series will begin today at 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Saturday the teams will play a double-header with game one slated for an 11 a.m. start and a 3 p.m. start for game two. The fourth and final game of the weekend will take place at 1 p.m. Sunday afternoon.