The great Babe Ruth’s hitting strategy was simple: hit the ball so far that the other team can’t catch it.

The UCLA baseball team employed that strategy Tuesday evening, clubbing four home runs and a clutch ninth-inning double to out-slug the Gauchos 8-7 at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

Santa Barbara (21-26, 4-11 in the Big West) began the bottom of the ninth on top 7-6 with freshman closer Steve Morlock on the hill. The righty walked the first two Bruins of the inning on nine pitches, but proceeded to strike out junior second baseman Preston Griffin for the first out of the inning. Freshman designated hitter Brett McMillan, who had already slugged his sixth home run of the year in the third inning, sent Morlock’s 1-2 pitch to right field over Gaucho sophomore Matt Wilkerson’s head for a two-run double that won the game for UCLA (23-26).

“We did everything well except walk those two guys in the ninth,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We didn’t get rewarded for playing well.”

Sophomore right-hander Eric Posthumus took the ball for Santa Barbara and started the game with three effective innings, yielding only McMillan’s homerun in the third. Posthumus ran into trouble in the fourth inning, surrendering a two-run blast to junior third baseman Brandon Averill and serving up gopher balls to sophomore first baseman Wes Whisler and senior left fielder Christian Lewis in the fifth. Posthumus left the game trailing 6-4, having pitched 4.2 innings, giving up eight hits and six earned runs along the way. Gaucho junior reliever Jared Edrosolan kept the Bruins in the park and held them scoreless in his 3.1-inning stint.

Santa Barbara countered UCLA’s offensive barrage with some hot bats of its own, smacking two home runs and scoring six of its seven runs with two outs. Bruin junior starting pitcher Chris Cordeiro set down the first eight Gauchos he faced in order until senior shortstop Josh Fulton singled up the middle with two away in the top of the third inning. Gaucho juniors Brian Adams and Nate Sutton followed with singles through the box, with Sutton’s shot scoring Fulton from second base. Wilkerson drew a two-out walk from Bruin sophomore relief pitcher David Johnson with two outs in the fourth, and fellow Gaucho sophomore Chris Malec singled to keep the rally alive. UCSB junior catcher Chad Ziemendorf, who homered in each of the Gauchos’ three games last weekend against Cal State Northridge, stepped up and socked a 3-0 pitch out of the park for his sixth homer of the season and fourth in as many games.

“I’ve made some adjustments and I’m keeping things simple,” Ziemendorf said. “When you keep things simple, good things happen.”

With the Gauchos down 6-4 in the seventh inning, Malec hit the first pitch he saw from Bruin senior southpaw Mike Kunes over the wall in right field for his second circuit clout of the year. Ziemendorf squeezed a walk out of Kunes with a full count, and was then bunted over to second base by Fulton. An out later, Sutton slapped another RBI single and moved to second on the throw to the plate. Gaucho senior designated hitter Nic Rodriguez followed with a single off the glove of UCLA sophomore shortstop Ryan McCarthy to plate Sutton and give the Gauchos a 7-6 lead.

UCLA sophomore pitcher Bryan Beck picked up the win in relief, striking out four Gauchos in 2.1 innings. Morlock’s record falls to 3-5 with the loss. Santa Barbara will return home to close out the season with a Big West three-game series against the Pacific Tigers (25-23, 4-11 in the Big West) beginning Friday.

“We played ourselves a great ballgame against UCLA,” Ziemendorf said. “We are definitely going to carry it into the weekend.”