The UCSB baseball team took two out of three games this weekend as the Gauchos played host to Cal Poly. Santa Barbara took control of the Blue-Green Rivalry, taking the first two games of the series before dropping the final game Sunday afternoon, due in large part to four Gaucho errors.
“Our last three Sunday home games, we have really struggled defensively,” Head Coach Andrew Checketts said. “I don’t know what it is, because I think we’re a really good defensive team and our guys don’t make a lot of errors.”
Sunday afternoon’s game was a tale of two halves as the Mustangs, now 21-8 and 4-2 in the Big West, jumped out to an early lead with a run in the first inning.
They then scored three in the third and two more in the fourth to take a 6-0 lead. Freshman starting pitcher Robby Nesovic got through just three and a third innings, allowing six runs. However, just two were earned as the Gauchos defense lacked its usual reliability.
“I thought Robby Nesovic gave us a chance. He threw the ball in there well,” Checketts said. “He should have gone five and given up just a run or two.”
The Gauchos, now 16-14 and 3-3 in the Big West, had collected just one hit through six innings, but finally broke through in the bottom of the seventh inning as they put up two runs in the seventh, eight and ninth as they attempted a major comeback.
With the score 7-4, sophomore pitcher Reed Reilly prevented a base hit from getting through the middle. He kicked a grounder and recovered to make the play, saving a run and making an important out as the Gauchos were just one base hit away from tying the game. Sophomore center fielder Cameron Newell struck out with the tying run on second to end the game.
“We had a chance. We put pressure on them and they were backpedaling a little bit as we got our momentum going. I thought we were going to get a shot,” Checketts said. “It would have been nice to get a swing off on that last pitch, but there were some good at-bats by our guys to give us a chance.”
On Saturday afternoon, the Gauchos exploded for 13 runs as they went on to beat the Mustangs 13-2. Santa Barbara scored in the first inning, then went quiet until a huge 11-run sixth sealed the deal as the outburst brought 16 men to the plate.
Nesovic went 4-4 on the day and drove in four runs as he led the team on the day, but sophomore second baseman Woody Woodward had nearly as impressive of a line as he went 4-5, scored three runs and drove in two, doubling and tripling in the process.
Game one on Friday was a much closer game for the two teams. Cal Poly struck first in the top of the fourth inning on a home run by junior center fielder David Armendariz. The Gauchos came back in the bottom half of the fourth to tie it before taking the lead in the bottom of the sixth.
UCSB tacked on some insurance runs in the seventh when Newell stole home on a double steal of third and home by Woodward and Newell respectively. Woodward then came home on a base hit by sophomore first baseman Tyler Kuresa. Cal Poly scored again but ultimately fell 4-2.
Next up for the Gauchos will be a trip to Malibu, as UCSB will head out to play Pepperdine Tuesday afternoon.
A version of this article appeared on page 5 of April 8th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Mark Brocher of the Daily Nexus