On a blustery Tuesday afternoon, the UCSB baseball team lost a difficult one to Saint Mary College by a score of 4-1. What started off as a beautiful, sunny Santa Barbara afternoon turned into a windy, chaotic mess for the ’Chos.
Santa Barbara now falls to 4-4 on the season while also ruining its previous three-game winning streak. The Gales improve to 5-2 on the year and defeat the Gauchos at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for the second consecutive season.
The starter on the bump for UCSB was right-hander junior Chris Clements who pitched pretty decently overall by going five and one-third innings only giving up three earned runs, nine hits while striking out seven batters.
Before coming into Tuesday’s matchup, the Gaels left-handed starting pitcher sophomore Ty Madrigal had an earned run average of 7.36 in just two appearances.
On Tuesday, Madrigal reversed the script by pitching an absolutely great game as he only allowed two hits, no runs and managed to strike out seven. The lefty pitcher would prove too much for the Gaucho, which is predominantly left.
The Elk Grove, Calif., native was dominant Tuesday using his two-seam fastball that would cut in on the hands of lefties. On top of this, Madrigal would use his masterful control of his slider, curveball, and changeup to carve up the strike zone.
Gaucho hitters would fly out nine times of the 11 total they had for the game when Madrigal was on the mound. This was very uncharacteristic of a Gaucho team that came off an offensive barrage in a sweep of the Tulane Green Wave.
The only bright spot of the afternoon offensively for the Gauchos was junior first baseman Austin Bush. Bush would smoke a low line drive homerun over the right field fence against lefty reliever freshman Ken Waldichuk in the bottom of the ninth. Bush would have two of the three total hits for the Gauchos and finished the evening 2-4 with the lone RBI.
On the other side of the diamond, Saint Mary’s offense proved to be impressive by collecting 10 hits off the Gaucho pitching staff. Leading the way was designated hitter freshman Joe Vranesh who went three for four with one RBI. The gusts blowing out to right field helped a couple balls that were struck in the gap by the Gaels, particularly on a double hit by catcher Jackson Thoreson (2 for 5, 1 RBI) to lead off the second inning. Later that inning, Thoreson would come around to score the first run for Saint Mary’s.
Although hitting the ball well, the Gaels’ offense was helped by not only the wind but by the Gaucho defense as well. In the top of the fifth inning, the ’Chos would commit four continuous errors. Two errors came from left fielder junior Colton Burns who has recently made the transition from second base to the outfield for the first time in his career.
For the first committed error, Burns would let a ball get by him on a routine base hit to the outfield. The ball would reach the fence allowing the batter to reach third.
The second error happened after Burns dove head first for a ball, trapping it in his glove but losing sight of the ball below his feet allowing the runner to advance to second.
Another error came on a grounder that took a wild hop on redshirt junior second baseman JJ Muno. Unfortunately for Muno, although doing his best to block the ball and pick it up with his bare hand, he had no play at first.
The last of the errors came on a pop fly to third baseman redshirt junior Kenny Corey that was blown around by the swirling wind. The ball would hit off the end Corey’s glove and drop to the ground. All runners would be safe.
From these four errors, two runs would score. If not for these blunders, the Gauchos would be looking at an entirely different game altogether in the bottom of the ninth, especially after Bush’s homerun.
The Gauchos, who are now sitting at a .500 winning percentage, had a pretty decent home stand overall winning three games and losing one. Now the boys will head off to Kentucky this weekend to play three games of a long seven-game road series that will also feature four games at Brigham Young University the following week.