The UCSB baseball team (17-15-1) will finish up its last leg of a seven-game road trip against the UC Davis Aggies (10-21) that has seen the Gauchos garner a 2-2 record so far, an underwhelming performance in their first foray into conference play.
The last game for the Gauchos was a positive performance in Los Angeles against the University of Southern California Trojans where UCSB won 8-5.
USC starter Austin Manning was solid up until the fourth inning where the sophomore gave up runs on a bases-loaded walk and two wild pitches, allowing the Gauchos to score five runs by the end of the fifth inning.
Sophomore McClain O’Connor and junior Clay Fisher singled to put three runs across the plate to increase the team’s lead to 8-4 by the time of the seventh inning stretch.
The Aggies have not had much of an effective season and find themselves last in the Big West conference after playing nine conference games.
In their last game against the Sacramento State Hornets, Davis used a four-run sixth inning powered by a sophomore Tanner Murray single and an extra-base hit from senior Brad Pluschkell to win the game, 7-3.
The victory was Davis’ first in over a week and is only their third in the month of April. With mostly losses intertwined between the minority victories, the Aggies are certainly hoping for a better result in their games against the Gauchos before the end of the team’s current homestand.
Jack Dashwood looks to be the probable starter for UCSB on Friday’s opening match and the southpaw will be making a start at a point in the season where he has run into more trouble than he’d like to have seen as of late.
The freshman has a 2-5 record on the year and his previous start to begin the series against UC Irvine was his worst outing on the mound all season. The 18.90 ERA and ten hits allowed over 3.1 innings pitched are all season-low marks in each category.
Dashwood had been getting it together before his disastrous start against UCI, since the March 9th game against Texas State he had gone for at least five innings, allowed a less than 1.50 ERA, excluding a March 19th start, and held a 2-3 record. The lefty and his team are hoping he can bounce back to set a strong tone early in the series against Davis.
Junior Ryan Anderson leads UC Davis in batting average, (.391), hits (50), and runs (26) alongside junior Caleb van Blake, who leads the team in RBIs with 28, have been major parts of the Aggie offense.
In Davis’ last 16-10 victory, both Anderson and van Blake homered in the game with van Blake’s shot being a huge grand slam in the third inning to tie up the score.
For a team who has not done a lot of winning this season, in the games, the Aggies have won offense has not been a problem as all of their victories have come when the team has scored seven or more runs.
The key to victory for the Gauchos this series very well could lie in keeping the Aggies guessing at the plate and getting good pitching to keep them quiet.
The team has a good coincidence of timing as early opportunities to jump ahead in the standings do not come often and the mindset for UCSB must be to come out strong should they desire to quickly improve their record.
The Gauchos will begin their series against the Aggies on Friday, April 20 – April 23. The first game is scheduled to begin at 2:30 PM PST.