The UCSB baseball team arrived in Northridge on Tuesday and a power surge ensued.
The Gauchos stomped Cal State Northridge 16-8 Tuesday afternoon to run their record to 5-3 and extend their current winning streak to three games. Santa Barbara clubbed three home runs, including one from junior right fielder Ryan Spilborghs, to lead the onslaught against the Matadors’ pitching. The home run was the first of the year for Spilborghs, and two freshmen, second baseman Chris Malec and first baseman Josh McCanne, were able to support it, each hitting his second round-tripper of the season.
The UCSB offense has been improving rapidly, having scored 10 or more runs in three of its last five games. It picked the right time to have a breakout game, as starting freshman pitcher Eric Posthumus struggled, giving up seven runs in just 3.2 innings. However, junior Kevin Miller (1-0), who usually plays left field, was able to pick up Posthumus, coming on in relief to gain his first career Division-I victory. Miller went 4.1 innings, striking out four and holding the Matadors, the highest scoring offense in the Big West Conference, to just one run. Junior Sean Thompson pitched a scoreless ninth to shut the door on the Matadors.
The game was a seesaw battle that saw the Gauchos fall behind by three runs in the first, then rally with three in the second and four in the third to take a 7-3 lead. However, Northridge was able to counter with
consecutive two-run innings to knot the score at seven after four frames.
But the Gauchos, who showed their determination and penchant for rallies in a gritty series at Santa Clara, were not to be discouraged. Santa Barbara answered, as it blasted Northridge for five runs in the sixth and four more in the eighth, making the count 16-7 and effectively putting the game out of reach.
Spilborghs went 1-for-2 with three walks, four RBIs and three runs scored. McCanne followed suit, also driving in three runs for the Gauchos. Freshman infielder Matt Wilkerson and senior infielder Dave Licht also excelled at the plate, as each went 3-for-4 for a Santa Barbara team that looked to be nothing short of a juggernaut.
The Gauchos will return home from their successful 3-1 road trip to play a three-game series against the San Jose State Spartans. The first game will start on Friday at 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.