The UCSB baseball team made quick work of Westmont College in an explosive 18-3 victory at Carr Field in Montecito on Wednesday.
Junior third baseman Nate Sutton and junior catcher Taylor Vogt led the way for the Gauchos (9-9) with a combined six hits and five RBIs.
Sutton finished the day 5-for-7 at the plate and became the first Gaucho to collect five hits in a game since Mike Kolbach did it in 2001. He also chimed in with his third home run of the season and scored four runs.
“I definitely felt good up there,” Sutton said. “[Games like that] really help my confidence. I usually don’t do too well at Westmont.”
Vogt also contributed with a game-breaking grand slam in the Gauchos’ nine-run fifth inning. The blast was his second home run of the season and raised his RBI total to nine.
Freshmen first baseman Bill Rowe and center fielder Matt Emerick also went deep in the rout. Rowe complimented his second homer of the season with a 2-for-6 performance at the plate, including five runs scored and two RBIs.
“It’s good to see our offense come around because our pitchers have been doing such a great job,” Rowe said. “If they know they’re going to get support, we’ll be that much better.”
Every Gaucho position player recorded a plate appearance in the game and seven of the nine UCSB starters collected a hit. Freshman outfielder Chris Caraballo, who replaced junior Brian Adams in left field after one at-bat, filled in with an impressive 4-4 performance. The freshman also drove in three runs while scoring two.
“It was a pretty offensive day,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “I think mentally it’s nice to go out and swing the bats well. I thought we did what we had to do.”
Even UCSB starting pitchers junior Matt Vasquez and senior Sean Thompson saw action at the plate. In both of their first at-bats of the season, Vasquez walked while Thompson grounded out.
UCSB beat up a clearly outmatched Westmont squad, winner of only three games in 2003.
“We probably caught them at a good time,” Brontsema said. “They’re depth is not great.”
Four Gaucho pitchers combined to give up just eight hits and only one earned run. Freshman Michael Martin tossed the first three innings for UCSB, allowing just one hit and one run. Juniors Rich Sorenson, Jared Edrosolan and Ivan Ramirez relieved Martin. Freshman Steven Morlock closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning. The five Gaucho pitchers combined for nine strikeouts and just two bases on balls.
“It was another good day by our staff,” Brontsema said.
On the other side of the ball, the Warriors’ staff struggled. Four Westmont hurlers combined to give up 15 earned runs on 22 hits. They also gifted the Gauchos 13 free passes thanks to eight walks and five hit batters.
“The key [to our hitting] was to just stay back and be patient,” Rowe said.
With the victory, the Gauchos’ raised their record to .500 for the first time since the second game of the season. UCSB will attempt to move over that mark this weekend at Loyola Marymount University. Santa Barbara will begin a three game series against the Lions on Friday in Los Angeles.
Brontsema said the Gauchos will have their work cut out for them against a surging LMU team that is 7-1 at home and 9-5 overall.
“[LMU] is riding a high right now,” he said. “They have a lot of power arms. We’re going to be challenged.”