USC looks to snap its six-game losing streak tonight at Dedeaux Field when it hosts UC Santa Barbara in non-conference action at 7 p.m.
The Trojans (15-20, 2-10) suffered their second straight series sweep last weekend — this time at the hands of Pac-10 leader Arizona State. After taking a 4-1 lead in the first inning of Sunday’s series finale, USC allowed 11 unanswered runs to the Sun Devils (31-3, 9-3) and dropped its 10th game in its last 13 contests by a score of 14-6.
USC coach Chad Kreuter has a few options that he can turn to for starters tonight. Sophomore right-hander Chad Smith lasted only one and one-third innings in Sunday’s outing, allowing five runs on five hits with two walks.
Junior righty Logan Odom pitched two innings of relief Sunday, but he might be ready to start tonight as well. Odom (0-0, 6.14 ERA) last started against Cal State Bakersfield on April 7 where he gave up two runs in two innings.
Kreuter could also go with senior Kevin Couture — who did not start over the weekend but pitched in relief Sunday — or senior Shuhei Fujiya, who failed to record an out in his only start of the season March 30 against Loyola Marymount.
The Gauchos (16-14, 3-3) come into tonight’s contest having dropped their weekend series to Cal State Fullerton after losing the rubber game Sunday 6-1.
UCSB will likely start junior Greg Davis. In his last start against Loyola Marymount, Davis (1-0, 2.63 ERA) lasted three innings without giving up a hit. He struck out three.
UCSB is batting .291 on the season with a staff ERA of 5.02, compared to USC’s team average of .284 and 4.75 ERA.
Sophomore infielder Ricky Oropesa continues to pace the way for the Trojans’ offense, leading the team in batting average (.321), hits (45), doubles (12), home runs (11) and RBI (34). He is also second on the team with 29 runs scored.
On the other side, the Gauchos have a few top hitters USC pitchers need to keep in check. Five of their starters have a batting average of .297 or better.
Infielder Matt Valaika leads the Gauchos with a .327 batting average, 24 runs scored and 25 RBI, to go along with his four home runs. Infielder Trevor Whyte is tied for second on the team with 21 RBI. He also sports a .309 batting average. Infielder Gunnar Terhune has a .304 average, 23 runs scored, 21 RBI and six stolen bases.
USC is hoping to notch a much-needed win tonight before it travels to Eugene, Ore., to take on the Ducks this weekend. The Trojans have yet to win a Pac-10 series this season.