The UCSB baseball team dropped into last place in the Big West Conference and severely dampened its hopes of a postseason berth after Riverside swept Santa Barbara aside.
The Highlanders outscored the Gauchos 32-9 during the three game series at the Riverside Sports Complex. Santa Barbara finds itself mired in a five-game losing skid.
UCSB faced stellar pitching in Friday’s 4-3 loss and in Saturday’s 10-2 defeat before being trounced in Sunday’s finale, 18-4.
UCR junior right-hander Jaymes Torres (6-1) shut down the Gauchos (18-18, 1-5 in the Big West) in the opener en route to his first complete game of the season. Torres gave up two earned runs on five hits and struck out eight.
For Santa Barbara, senior southpaw Sean Thompson battled Torres, even taking a 3-0 lead into the seventh inning.
But Thompson, combined with junior Jared Edrosolan and sophomore Mike Sutherland, gave up four runs in the seventh and the Gaucho offense never recovered. Edrosolan (0-3) took the loss.
Senior first baseman Josh McCanne, sophomore second baseman Chris Malec and junior outfielder Brian Adams each contributed one hit in the losing effort. Adams’ hit came in the form of his third home run of the season.
On Saturday, UCSB was shut down at the plate again, this time by sophomore A.J. Shappi (7-1). The right-hander tossed his second complete game of the season after giving up his only two runs in the second inning. Senior Gaucho shortstop Josh Fulton and Adams knocked in the only two runs of the game for UCSB.
Gaucho freshman right-hander Steve Morlock (3-4) took the loss and gave up four runs in four innings in his second start of the season. He walked two and struck out three.
In Sunday’s finale, the wheels came off the proverbial bus for UCSB as the Gaucho pitching staff allowed the most runs it had given up all season. Junior left-hander Ivan Ramirez (2-1), making his first start in 2003, lasted just two innings and gave up five runs. The first four Highlander batters of the game reached base on the way to a four-run first inning.
UCSB did not put a runner on base until the fourth when Adams and junior third baseman Nate Sutton singled, eventually scoring on an RBI single by freshman first baseman Bill Rowe and a Malec sacrifice fly.
But Riverside (27-9, 4-2) put the game out of reach in the sixth by sending 11 batters to the plate and scoring five runs. UCR sophomore first baseman Kevin Mangels highlighted the inning with a grand slam.
The Gauchos lost the final two games of their April 4-6 conference series against Irvine and have now lost five of their last six.