Winning never gets old, but the UCSB baseball team may soon force the accomplishment into early retirement.
In a season already filled with victories, the Gauchos added three more W’s to the win column this weekend, sweeping their series against Riverside. Santa Barbara destroyed UCR 15-5 in the first game on Friday and followed that up with a 7-2 victory in game two. UCSB then brought out the brooms for game three on Sunday, topping the Highlanders 14-4.
“We’ve been putting everything together lately,” senior third baseman Dave Molidor said. “We finally have everybody healthy, and everybody on this team gets along.”
In game one, UCSB fell behind early as UCR notched a run in the top of the first inning off senior southpaw Rylie Ogle. The Gauchos came back with a run of their own in the bottom of the inning, tying the score at one. Riverside posted anther run in its portion of the second before Santa Barbara’s offense took over.
The Gauchos scored three runs in the bottom of the second and two more in the third, the latter coming on a home run from junior first baseman Tyler Von Schell. UCSB added two more runs in the fifth and sixth innings, four runs in the seventh and a final run in the eighth inning to finish the barrage.
“Today was an offensive day,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said Friday. “Hitting is a contagious thing, and I guess you could say that we’re a pretty sick team right now.”
Ogle, improving to 8-1 on the season, picked up the victory for UCSB. Ogle pitched six innings and struck out four.
In the second game of the series, UCSB lacked its game-one firepower but found a way to win, nonetheless. The Gauchos jumped on top in inning two on a double by senior catcher Donovan Warrecker, scoring senior shortstop Jeff Bannon. Sophomore right fielder Ryan Spilborghs then drove in Bannon with a double of his own, giving Santa Barbara a 2-0 advantage.
UCSB finished off the Highlanders in the eighth inning when, leading 5-1, it scored two more insurance runs to put the game out of reach.
The seven runs were more than enough for junior starter James Garcia, who turned in another stellar performance in his first season as a Gaucho. Garcia pitched seven innings, giving up only one earned run, while striking out eight.
“We’ve been getting great pitching everyday,” Von Schell said. “Everything is starting to click, and we’re really starting to hit our stride.”
In game three, Santa Barbara erased an early 1-0 deficit on a two-run blast from Molidor and took a 2-1 lead. The home run would be a sign of things to come, as UCSB would drop two more bombs before the game was over.
The next blast came courtesy of junior designated hitter Jed Stringham, who gave UCSB a 4-1 lead with his two-run homer.
“[Riverside pitcher Mike Garner] was a soft-throwing lefty,” Stringham said. “I was looking for a curve ball, and he threw me one. I just went the other way with it.”
Following the Stringham homer, UCSB scored two runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, as both Molidor and Von Schell picked up an RBI.
At this point, the Gauchos were far from done and tacked on two runs in the fifth inning and another in the sixth, taking a comfortable 9-1 lead.
Riverside then staged a rally by scoring three runs in the seventh inning. But UCSB answered right away and put five runs on the board, including a three-run bomb from Von Schell, which ended the scoring.
Santa Barbara will head back into action this Tuesday, facing off against USC. The Gauchos lost at home to the Trojans earlier this season and will be looking for a little payback in Los Angeles.
“We feel like we can hang with them,” Brontsema said. “It would be nice to go down there and get a win.”