UCSB to Face Off Against 25th-Ranked USC

April 12, 2005

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - After being swept last weekend by UC Davis, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team (16-17) will look to get back-on track by hosting No. 25 Southern Cal (21-9) in a non-conference match-up on Wednesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Wednesday's game marks the first time the Gauchos will face a ranked opponent this season. Senior Loren Fraser (2-2, 2.56 ERA) is scheduled to take the hill against the Trojans.

Freshman designated hitter Matt Aidem is currently pacing the team with a .382 batting average and a three-game hitting streak. Aidem was the only Gaucho to record a hit in each game against the Aggies. Senior shortstop Chris Malec is batting .338 and has a team-high 44 hits, nine doubles and 28 runs scored. Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson is leading Santa Barbara with seven home runs and 31 RBI.

Winners of 12 of their last 15 games, USC enters Wednesday's match-up having just swept cross-town rival UCLA in a three-game set. The Trojans are led by catcher Jeff Clement, who has a team-leading .356 batting average, seven home runs, 27 RBI and 67 total bases. On the mound for Southern Cal will be right-hander Anthony Encinas. In six appearances so far this season, Encinas is 2-1 with a 3.14 ERA. The starting nod against the Gauchos will be his second of the season. Most recently, Encinas pitched 3.1 scoreless innings against UCLA on April 5.

After Wednesday's affair with USC, the Gauchos will travel to Westwood, Calif. to begin a three-game set against UCLA on Friday. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The two teams will then head back up to Santa Barbara to complete the final two games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The games on Saturday and Sunday are slated for a 1:00 pm start.