Ernie Banks, Mr. Cub himself, would be proud of the UCSB baseball team.
The Gauchos took the advice of the legendary Chicago Cubs Hall of Fame second baseman who said, “Lets play two,” sweeping a doubleheader Saturday against Temple at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The third game of the series was rained out Sunday afternoon.
Santa Barbara (8-4) dominated the Owls in both games of the twin bill Saturday, taking the first game 9-1 before rolling to a 10-4 victory in game two. With the sweep, UCSB ran its winning streak to five games, maintaining its strong play despite having yet another game canceled due to poor weather.
“We’re playing well right now,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “But we still need to get better. There are some things that we need to improve on as a team.”
The Gauchos fell behind in the third inning of game one, while Temple notched an early run off of Santa Barbara senior starting pitcher Rylie Ogle. That would be the only run the Owls would get, as Ogle, junior Matt Moran and senior Russell Wirth combined to hold Temple scoreless over the final eight innings.
Coming off of his Big West Pitcher of the Week performance, Ogle went six innings and struck out five en route to his third victory of the season. Despite picking up the win, Ogle was less than pleased with his outing.
“I didn’t pitch that well today,” Ogle said. “I was just making bad pitches, but it’s always nice when your team can come out and score nine or 10 runs, so I’ll take the win.”
The Owls’ one-run lead was short-lived. UCSB exploded for six runs in the bottom of the third, giving the Gauchos a lead they would never relinquish. Santa Barbara added another run in the fourth and then finished the scoring with two more runs in the eighth inning.
Sophomore center fielder Skip Shumaker led the Gauchos’ barrage, going 2-5 at the plate with two RBIs and two runs scored.
If the Owls thought UCSB’s clout was a mirage, than they were seeing double in the second game. Santa Barbara scored one run in each of the first three innings to take a 3-1 lead. Both teams went scoreless in the fourth inning before the Gauchos knocked in five runs in the bottom of the fifth. Junior designated hitter Jed Stringham belted his seventh round-tripper of the year, hitting a three-run shot, resulting in a 8-1 lead.
“[Temple pitcher Greg Powell] threw me a first-pitch fastball,” Stringham said. “I usually look for a fastball, and he gave me a perfect one, about belt high. You can’t ask for more than that.”
The Owls responded to the Stringham bomb with three runs in the top of the sixth inning to make the score 8-4. But Temple would get no closer, and UCSB came back with two runs in the bottom of the sixth on RBI singles from senior third baseman Dave Molidor and senior catcher Jimmy Walker.
Sophomore southpaw Jim Bullard picked up the win for Santa Barbara, improving to 2-1 on the season. Bullard pitched five strong innings, giving up four runs while striking out one.
The Gauchos will head back into action next weekend, hitting the road for a three-game series against California-Berkeley.
Trey Clark contributed to this story.