With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Ben Edelstein came up to the plate for his first at-bat of the game, with a runner on second and the score tied at four. The senior sent a three-and-one fastball up the middle to center field, driving in sophomore shortstop Steven Moon and securing the eventual game-winning run over Northridge.
[media-credit id=16616 align=”alignright” width=”250″][/media-credit]“I came up there and I was relaxed,” Edelstein said. “I took it like it was any other at-bat. When I went in to play defense, I realized I was going to hit. It turned out that came out to be the big hit.”
Edelstein’s RBI single propelled the Gauchos to a 6-4 win over the Matadors yesterday, boosting the team’s record to 18-17, including 15-5 in home contests. With the loss, Northridge falls to 18-22 just two weeks after defeating the Gauchos 3-2 on their home field.
Coming in to pitch the ninth with a fragile two-run lead, senior right-handed pitcher Greg Davis managed to strike out two of three batters in a perfect inning to notch his fourth save of the year.
“Just as important as finishing off the homestand was how Davis came in and really shut them down,” Head Coach Bob Brontesma said. “Last time we played them we had some ninth inning issues, and he came and was very aggressive, threw strikes with multiple pitches and gave them no life.”
Starting senior pitcher Nick Loredo allowed two runs in his three innings of work before the bullpen took over. The Matadors got off to a quick 3-1 lead before the Gauchos stormed back in the seventh and eighth innings, scoring two runs in each frame.
Senior right fielder Mark Haddow drove a fastball over the right field wall to give the Gauchos a 4-3 lead heading into the seventh. The two-run homer was Haddow’s fifth of the year and capped his three-RBI day.
“I struggled early, and I left some runs out on the field,” Haddow said. “Those are things we need to capitalize on. I just got a good fastball, and I was able to put it up over right for a home run.”
The winning pitcher for UCSB, senior right-hander Bryce Uhrig, allowed a run in the top of the eighth inning but managed to record his second victory of the season with two strong innings along with the team’s timely hitting.
Batting leadoff in place of Edelstein was senior center fielder Derek Eligio, who went three for four highlighted by a solo home run in the third inning.
“The leadoff spot had four hits, with Ben getting the big one,” Brontsema said. “We played our park well today. We hit the ball in the direction the ball was leaving, and that was a big factor for us.”
After Northridge tied up the game on catcher Steven Keller’s RBI single in the eighth, Uhrig managed to get out of the inning and hand it back over to the offense, setting the table for Edelstein to drive in the winning run.
“A lot of the season I’ve fell behind in counts,” Edelstein said. “It’s a lot harder to hit when you’re down in counts. Luckily I got ahead, he came in with a fastball and I took it back up the middle.”
Wind also played a factor in the game, helping to carry the Gaucho homers and allowing the team to show the type of power it has at home.
“We know what we need to do to be successful,” Haddow said. “Pitchers are going to make mistakes and what we need to do is capitalize on those mistakes when they make them, and that is what we did today.”
The victory caps off a 4-1 home stand for the Gauchos as they hit the road for the next seven games. First, they travel to Riverside for three games against the Matadors, starting Friday at 6 p.m.