The UCSB baseball team continued its recent surge of playing strong after brushing off cross-town rival Westmont 8-3 Wednesday afternoon.
The Gauchos have now won three out of their last four games, and seem to be improving with each contest.
“It’s been nice to win some ball games, but we can still get better,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We’ve only had one practice since before the Oregon State series. Once we start getting some practices in we can be really good.”
The Warriors opened the scoring in the top half of the second inning, jumping on top 1-0 on senior third baseman Jadon Lavik’s RBI single. Santa Barbara answered with a run of its own in the bottom of the second, with senior designated hitter Mike Kolbach driving in senior second baseman Chad Peshke to knot the game up.
UCSB then took the lead for good in the third inning on senior third baseman Dave Molidor’s two-run bomb over the left-field fence.
“[Westmont senior pitcher Derek Moore] had just thrown me two fastballs up in the zone,” Molidor said. “I was looking for something off-speed, so I just waited back and slapped it out.”
Santa Barbara then added another run in the third on senior shortstop Jeff Bannon’s ground out to go up 4-1.
The two teams tallied one run apiece in both the fourth and sixth innings, with the Gauchos scoring on RBI singles from Kolbach and sophomore center fielder Skip Schumaker to go up 6-3.
Looking for insurance, the Gauchos came out swinging in the seventh. Peshke led off the inning with a double and Molidor followed that with a walk, setting the table for junior first baseman Tyler Von Schell. Von Schell responded, blasting an RBI double, which allowed Peshke to score. Bannon then finished the scoring, driving in Molidor with his second single of the game.
The Gauchos sent six hurlers to the mound, with none pitching more than four innings. Freshman hurler Matt Vasquez picked up the win for UCSB, going four innings, while allowing only two runs and striking out four.
“It was good to get out there,” Vasquez said. “It was good to get more than one inning of work in my home debut. I just wanted to throw low strikes and stay calm, just stay back and throw.”
Santa Barbara will now head to Los Angeles to face Loyola Marymount in a three-game series over the weekend. The Gauchos know that they must keep playing well in order to go into conference play on a roll.
“We feel like we’re a great team, but we have to start showing it,” Von Schell said. “We have been coming together lately and we know we’re a good team.”