Good things seem to come in pairs: two-for-one happy hour specials, breasts, and Gaucho wins.
The UCSB baseball team blitzkrieged visiting Sacramento State with a barrage of hits to seize two of three games for the second consecutive weekend. Santa Barbara (21-31, 7-14 in the Big West) missed its first sweep of the season by dropping the third game 7-12 after eviscerating the Hornets in the first two games by the scores of 15-4 and 8-7.
The Gauchos mounted their charge on Friday, bashing a devastating 18 hits and scoring in all but one inning. They continued their offensive assault the following day, winning the close contest on sophomore third baseman Nate Sutton’s grand slam. Unfortunately, UCSB could not sack Sacramento for the third straight day and complete the sweep.
“You try to demoralize a team that has lost the first two games by giving them a zero in the first inning,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “But if they get three runs like that, they get the momentum and it changes the outcome.”
Sophomore pitcher Matt Vasquez was shelled for four earned runs and eight hits in just 4.2 innings of work as the Hornets buzzed out to an early 10-0 lead. After filching the first two games, they had hoped to continue pillaging their guests.
“That is how baseball is,” Brontsema said. “The momentum is in the hands of the next day’s starting pitcher.”
UCSB seemed to have a firm grasp on the momentum. Junior hurler Sean Thompson gave UCSB six quality innings, fanning eight batters to even his record at 3-3.
The Gauchos prostituted the Hornet harlots, reaming them with their barbed bats in the 11 run victory. Senior shortstop Dave Licht continued to manhandle opposing pitchers, going a perfect 4-4 with a double and 3 RBIs in the desecration.
Freshman infielder Matt Wilkerson joined in on the massacre, pounding out 2 doubles and his team-leading 16th homer.
The following day saw more lethal pitching from freshmen sensation Eric Posthumus, who reaped his team-leading sixth win to continue poisoning the Hornets, scattering seven hits over seven innings and whiffing four.
Sutton mercilessly ravaged the Hornets’ defense with a towering fourth inning grand slam followed by Licht’s two-run double that gave the Gauchos the run support they needed to complete their season-high four-game winning streak.
“I’m pleased with the way we’ve played the last few weeks,” Brontsema said. “It’s a positive thing, and it’s indicative of what kind of team this really is.”
On Sunday, a crucial error by normally sure-leathered freshman second baseman Chris Malec keyed a seven-run fifth inning that yielded the lowly Hornets their second conference win.
“Errors are always going to stand out,” Brontsema said. “It was a tough play, and we didn’t make it. It turned out to be a big play.”
It was an especially dismaying loss for the outgoing seniors who were honored for their years of excellence.
Licht, who went 9-13 with 6 RBIs for the series, summed up the moment.
“It was a little bittersweet,” Licht said. “We had a good weekend and we played our asses off, but we just didn’t get that last win.”
Another departing senior, outfielder R.J. Smith, had a memorable last finale, going 3-4 with 2 doubles in his last home game ever.
“I’m going to miss a lot of guys,” Smith said. “I’m going to miss the coaching staff the most and the other seniors who I’ve been playing with. It’s been a fun five years.”