Beating your little brother in backyard baseball never gets old, and the UCSB baseball team (5-3) scored runs tirelessly in a 22-7 rout of Santa Barbara sibling Westmont College (2-6) Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. UCSB hit two grand slams in a game for the first time since 1997 and scored in five different innings to cruise to its second straight win.
Santa Barbara started the scoring off in the second inning, when senior third baseman Nate Sutton knocked a bases-loaded single into right field for the first of his three RBIs on the day. Senior designated hitter Greg Powers then golfed an 0-1 pitch into the trees behind the right field fence for his first home run of the season and four RBIs. Warrior senior lefty Jeremiah Kiely came on in relief and surrendered two more runs as the Gauchos sent 10 men to the plate and took a 7-0 lead.
Westmont answered back in the top of the third with three runs against Gaucho junior starter Eric Posthumus, getting two runners on with one out and then lacing three consecutive run-scoring singles. UCSB countered with a four-run third inning thanks to six hits and another 10-man carousel of batters in the inning.
The Warriors didn’t go down easy, sending junior center fielder Grant Davis to the plate to earn a 10-pitch walk from Posthumus. Westmont worked two infield singles in before another Posthumus free pass, and senior catcher Allan Waldo doubled in two more runs to narrow the score to 11-7 and prompt the Gauchos to wave redshirt freshman Brian Tracy into the game from the bullpen.
“We came out a little flat at times, and all of a sudden (in the fourth inning) it was a close game,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said, drawing attention to the six walks that Gaucho pitching staff racked up. “Six walks are not what you want to do against a team that you don’t think will knock it all over the park.”
Tracy, fellow redshirt freshman Andy Graham and junior Alex McRobbie were responsible for four of those bases on balls, but held the Warriors scoreless over the finals six innings, yielding just two hits and fanning five.
Gaucho senior center fielder Brian Adams led off the bottom of the fourth with a walk, and Sutton lofted a fly ball out to the right field corner that went for a double when Warrior right fielder Danny Vogt lost it in the sun. A walk to Powers filled the bases and set up sophomore first baseman Bill Rowe’s towering grand slam to right center field, extending his team-leading hitting streak to eight games.
“It’s good to finally have an extra-base hit,” Rowe said.
Rowe delivered 11 singles on the year before launching his blast and hitting a double in his final at-bat for a four-hit game against Westmont.
The Gauchos scored five more runs in the seventh inning on five hits, and pounded out 23 hits throughout the game. Sutton had three hits, runs and RBI, and 16 of the 17 UCSB position players saw playing time.
“We swung the bat well, and everyone got to play,” Brontsema said. “We like to get games where guys who don’t get a lot of at-bats can get in there and hit.”