The UCSB baseball team continued its streak of winning weekend series as it went 2-1 this weekend against Cal State Northridge for the team’s fourth consecutive weekend series win. Santa Barbara captured the first two games of the series 6-1 and 6-2 before falling Sunday 7-1.
The Gauchos, now 27-21 and 12-9 in the Big West, continue to keep their playoff hopes alive. The Matadors drop to 31-20 and 15-6 in the Big West, still good enough for second place behind Cal State Fullerton.
“[Sunday] hurt; we don’t have a lot of wiggle room to lose many more games,” Head Coach Andrew Checketts said. “I guess we need to win the rest of them or eight of the next nine to get our RPI to where it needs to be.”
In game one on Friday afternoon, each team waited until the final inning to get any offense started. Sophomore starting pitcher Austin Pettibone followed up his season-worst performance of last week with a nine inning gem on Friday.
“Austin was special [Friday]; he had a good live fastball and commanded the outside half of the plate,” Checketts said.
Pettibone pitched a complete game, allowing just one run. Pettibone walked just one and struck out five on the way to his seventh victory of the season.
The Matadors’ sophomore starting pitcher Jerry Keel pitched equally well, throwing eight innings of shutout ball. He, however, was relieved in the ninth inning and the Gauchos put up six runs in the inning.
The huge inning began with a quick out, but back to back singles began the outburst. Senior third baseman Marc Venning, making his return to the lineup after missing well over a month, was promptly hit by a pitch to load the bases.
A bases-loaded walk brought home the first run of the game before junior catcher Jackson Morrow plated two runs on a base hit to left field. Another hit batter loaded the bases for junior shortstop Brandon Trinkwon, who singled up the middle for two more runs.
The relief pitching of the Matadors continued to crumble as sophomore Woody Woodward was the third hit batter of the inning. Woodward and Trinkwon then advanced to second and third, respectively, on a passed ball and Trinkwon scored on a wild pitch to complete the six-run inning and seal the 6-1 victory.
On Saturday, UCSB again scored six runs en route to a 6-2 victory. Morrow got aboard with a single in the third and back to back Matador errors led to Morrow scoring the games first run.
In the top of the fifth inning, junior leftfielder Joey Epperson, who had his 12-game hitting streak snapped in game one, led off the inning with a solo home run. Trinkwon then worked a walk and would come around to score on a single followed by another Matador error.
In the seventh, freshman designated hitter Robby Nesovic doubled home two runs. Sophomore centerfielder Cameron Newell then followed him up with an RBI single to extend his hitting streak to 13 games.
With the Gauchos up 6-0, Northridge managed to put up two runs in the seventh, but would ultimately fall 6-2.
In the series finale, Northridge took its first lead in the series when it got a run on the board in the bottom of the third thanks to a solo home run by sophomore right fielder Chester Pak.
Northridge piled it on in the seventh and eighth innings as well for the 7-1 win. Nesovic’s solo home run was the lone Gaucho score.
The Gauchos will have a quick turnaround as they return home for a weekday match up with Washington State this afternoon. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
A version of this article appeared on page 6 of May 13th’s print edition of the Daily Nexus.
Photo by Magali Gauthier of the Daily Nexus.