It looks as though the bats of the UCSB baseball team have finally woken up. Coming off back-to-back 10 run outputs at Cal Poly, six Santa Barbara starters recorded multi-hit games on the way to a 15-10 rout of Pepperdine yesterday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
“In these last three games we’ve been on quite a tear,” junior pitcher Mario Hollands said. “Hitting is very contagious, especially at home.”
The Gauchos (15-12 overall) distanced themselves from the visiting Waves (11-17) in the third inning, driving in four after Pepperdine pitcher Cory Jones opened the frame with a pair of free passes to put them up 6-2. A trio of UCSB reserves — senior designated hitter Shane Arslan, sophomore catcher Bryce Tafelski and junior third baseman Brett Fick — all contributed an RBI hitting in the bottom half of the order.
“All those guys are good players, there just aren’t spots for them,” junior right fielder Mark Haddow said. “In games like this they have the chance to show what they can do … given the opportunity, they will produce.”
Offensive production was the name of the game in Tuesday’s nonconference clash, as Pepperdine fired back with six runs in the top of the fourth to go ahead 8-6. Santa Barbara was far from done at the plate however, and outscored the Waves 9-2 from the fifth inning on.
“Last weekend at Cal Poly was definitely a turning point for us,” Haddow said in reference to his team’s series win on the road. “We’re getting contributions from everyone, and the two-out hits are finally starting to come.”
The Gaucho bats tied their season high in runs on the day, but the defense also flashed its gloves in the field. Though the UCSB infield made two uncharacteristic errors on routine plays in the first, the outfield picked up the slack as the game wore on.
Haddow made a miraculous sliding catch in foul territory before senior infielder Gunnar Terhune took away extra bases from Pepperdine’s Ryan Van Amburg in the fourth — two much needed outs in the visiting team’s biggest inning. Senior Ryan Tregoning also helped the cause with a diving stab in the sixth, his first action in center field after moving over from left to replace an injured Terhune.
“We try to hang our hat on our defense,” Haddow said. “In games past we haven’t really put a lot of runs on the board, so it’s important that we make the plays [in the field].”
The Gaucho bullpen gave a strong effort in relief of right-handed junior Nick Loredo, who got tagged for seven runs (five earned) in a start that lasted only 3.1 innings. Left-handed junior Connor Whalen shut out the Waves through 1.2 innings before junior right-hander Greg Davis locked down the win by recording the final four outs.
“Connor Whalen’s really been shaking and baking so far this year,” Hollands said. “The way Greg Davis has been pitching we might be seeing him a lot more late in games.”