The UCSB baseball time is officially on fire after attaining a series sweep of its opponent for the second weekend in a row after defeating Connecticut three times, including two big comeback victories.
The sweep extends the Gauchos winning streak to six games and improves their overall record to 15-3. The three losses for the Huskies drop them to 9-9 on the season. They have dropped five of their last six games.
Before Sunday’s match began, UCSB knew it had a great opportunity to pick up its third sweep of an opponent this season as well as pick up its sixth straight victory. Because of this, it did not waste any time in putting away its opponent.
Senior infielder Connor Buckley started the scoring for his Huskies after hitting an RBI-groundout to take a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. The Gauchos quickly responded in the bottom of the inning after redshirt sophomore Josh Adams hit a two-run homer to take a 2-1 lead after two innings.
UCSB added another run in the third thanks to redshirt sophomore JJ Muno’s third home run of the season and would also add one in the fourth to take a 4-1 lead.
In the fifth inning Santa Barbara again was able to shut down the Huskies offense while adding more runs to its lead. Both runs scored in the inning were due to errors made by the visiting team which gave the Gauchos a 6-1 lead after five innings.
The Huskies would add one more run in the seventh inning, however, they could not muster enough hits to make a comeback which lead to their eventual 6-2 loss.
Gaucho pitcher Joe Record picked up his third win of the season after a solid seven-inning performance. The redshirt sophomore allowed six hits and two runs while also striking out five batters.
Before having the opportunity to clinch a series sweep, UCSB first had to make a comeback if it wanted to seal a victory over UConn.
Senior first baseman and captain Bobby Melley, who had a great game going 3-5 with three RBI and one homer, started the scoring for the Huskies after an RBI-single. However, they could not hold on to their lead because of errors. The Gauchos would capitalize scoring one in the third and one in the fourth to take a 2-1 lead.
After adding one run in the sixth to tie the game at two, UConn exploded for three runs in the top of the seventh to take a 5-2 lead. Sophomore third baseman Willy Yahn ignited the scoring after a sac fly RBI and Melly hit a two run homer to help extend the lead even further.
The Gauchos responded by scoring three runs on their own in the bottom of the seventh to tie the game up, courtesy of redshirt junior Andrew Calica’s RBI single, redshirt sophomore catcher Grover Dempsey’s RBI single and freshman outfielder Michael McAdoo’s RBI-double.
Uconn would regain the lead one more time thanks to Buckley’s RBI single in the top of the eighth, however, UCSB was to much as it added four more runs in the bottom of the inning and won the game 9-6.
McAdoo had a great game going 3-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. He has been showing flashes as of late and has been a breakout player garnering solid playing time as a freshman. Fisher also had a solid game going 2-3 on the evening with three runs scored.
Before Saturday’s win, Friday’s match-up between Uconn and UCSB was the first time these two teams met in school history and it did not disappoint as the game went down to the wire with a walk-off three-run homer by sophomore DH Austin Bush that sealed the deal for the Gauchos.
The scoring began early for Santa Barbara as it drew first blood in the first inning after a McAdoo sac fly RBI that brought in Calica. UConn tied the game in the third inning at one after senior Jack Sundberg batted in a runner with a groundout down the right field line.
Bush helped his team regain the lead in the bottom of the seventh after a solid RBI-single. However, in the top of the eighth an error by the Gauchos gave UConn a run and tied the game at two.
The ninth inning the real drama unfolded as junior DH Tyler Gnesda hit his third home run of the season to give his team a 3-2 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth. Down to three outs, the Gauchos showed they were not fazed by the pressure and that they were resiliant.
Calica started the inning strong with a double down the left field line followed by Dempsey reaching first base on a fielder’s choice and sending Calica to third. With no outs UCSB already had the tying run in scoring position and a go-ahead runner on base.
After an Adams strikeout, the Gauchos knew they still had two outs to get the tying run home or even win the game right there. The next batter was Bush, who has already had a fantastic season thus far. The sophomore added a game-winning walk-off home run to his fantastic season as his three-run shot ended the game 5-3 in favor of the Gauchos.
Another great weekend for Santa Barbara has to have them feeling well about its start to the season. Not only has it had great offensive fireworks, but it seems as though the pitching staff is starting to improve as well.
Many new faces have stepped up and has really impressed not only the coaching staff but the fans as well. Not many people predicted a 15-3 start for this young team, but that is why you play the games.
UCSB’s next game is going to be away from home Tuesday, March 22 against Cal State Bakersfield at Hardt Field at 6 p.m.
Jorge Mercado is the current Editor in Chief and was a Sports Editor before that since freshman year. He prefers to be called Merk as that was his nickname given to him by the gods. Sometimes, his evil twin Mork appears. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.