The Trojans suffered an 8-5 defeat against the UCSB Gauchos on Tuesday night, but redeemed themselves on Wednesday as they defeated the LMU Lions by a score of 6-1. Following these games, the Trojans now possess an 18-15 record on the year.
The Trojans entered this game coming off a disappointing series against the Arizona Wildcats in which they dropped two of three games at home. Following their weekend efforts, the Trojans stood at a 17-14 record on the year. On the other hand, the UCSB Gauchos entered this game with a 16-15-1 record on the season following a series loss to UC Irvine.
Both teams encountered earlier in the season in Santa Barbara, a game which the Trojans took by a scoreline of 9-3. Freshman pitcher John Beller was awarded the win on the day, while sophomore catcher Blake Sabol led the way in runs batted in and hits, as he batted home three runners while also tallying three hits.
Sophomore pitcher Austin Manning started on the hill for the Trojans against the Gauchos on Tuesday. He got off to a rough start, walking the first batter and allowing him to steal on a wild pitch. However, he put up three Ks to end the inning scoreless.
Meanwhile, the Trojans came out firing as Sabol opened with a lead-off single to start the bottom half of the inning. Sabol then managed to advance to second base following a sacrifice bunt by junior third baseman Brandon Perez. Sabol then stole third and would ultimately score on a sacrifice fly.
Both teams managed to get batters on base in the second and third innings, but no runs were scored. Manning struggled in the fourth inning as the Gauchos managed to put 3 runs on the board. Manning, who came into the game with only eight walks in 10 appearances, walked three batters in the fourth inning alone. He also allowed two runners to score on wild pitches and the other runner to score following a walk.
The Gauchos followed up their hot fourth inning with another couple runs in the fifth frame. The Trojans responded with a run of their own as freshman right fielder Jamal O’Guinn scored courtesy of a sacrifice fly into left by junior third baseman Chase Bushor, taking the score to 5-2 after five innings.
The Trojans came alive again in the sixth inning as freshman shortstop Ben Ramirez produced a big 2-run double with the bases loaded to take the game to 5-4. The Trojans’ dominance wouldn’t last long as the Gauchos quickly plated a few runs in the seventh inning.
Perez scored one more for the Trojans in the bottom of the seventh inning to advance to the game’s final score of 8-5 heading into the eighth inning.
“Well, I thought we played poorly all around,” head coach Dan Hubbs said after the game. “We were are own worst enemy. There were no errors on the scoreboard, but we played poorly defensively. If we want to be the team we think we are capable of being then we can’t do that. I thought all around, it was one of the worst games we’ve played all year.”
The Trojans followed their defeat against the Gauchos with an impressive 6-1 win against the LMU Lions.
Beller took the mound for the Trojans and showed excellent command. He ended up pitching for eight innings and recording nine strikeouts, and only allowed one run, which was unearned. Beller showed substantial promise in his second start of the season.
However, the game was all about junior first baseman Dillon Paulson who clobbered 2 home runs in the game, his fifth and sixth of the season. He opened the scoring for the Trojans in the first inning with a 2-run blast into right field and later went yard again in the fifth inning leading the Trojans to a 6-1 victory.
Paulson wasn’t the only player to hit a home run in the Trojans’ win against the Lions. Junior left fielder Lars Nootbaar pounded a 2-run dinger of his own in the third inning, taking his home run total to 4 on the season. Redshirt sophomore catcher Kaleb Murphy came up with the other RBI in the fourth inning as hit he a sacrifice fly to score sophomore centerfielder Matthew Acosta.
The Trojans will look to take momentum from this victory into their weekend series against the No. 13 ranked UCLA Bruins and improve their 18-15 record on the year. The games will take place at the Jackie Robinson Stadium on Friday night at 7 p.m., Saturday at 4 p.m., and Sunday at 12 p.m.