For the third time this season, UCSB sophomore starting pitcher Michael Martin (3-0) climbed the hill after a Gaucho loss and delivered a victory with senior closer Aaron Jones making the final pitch for his fourth save of the season. The dynamic combination pitched well enough to win, but it was junior righty Nate Holguin who stole the show when he pitched three critical innings in Santa Barbara’s 6-5 triumph over Pepperdine (2-4).
Martin yielded two earned runs on seven hits through five innings and pitched in and out of trouble, escaping a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the second inning without giving up a run. Holguin forced Pepperdine to put goose eggs on the board in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing just one base runner on an infield hit. Jones made the most of his three-run cushion in the ninth, allowing two runs on two hits, but retired Pepperdine right fielder senior Cory Brightwell on a foul pop-up with a runner on second base to end the game.
“Nate was the most dominant of the three pitchers, and he gave us a couple of zeroes in the middle of the game,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “Michael struggled with his command, but he went out there and competed for us as usual.”
Santa Barbara (6-4) scored on wild pitches in both the second and seventh innings, and Waves second baseman sophomore David Uribes made errors in the fifth and seventh innings to account for two more Gaucho tallies. Sophomore left fielder C.J. Cook and junior second baseman Chris Malec each had RBI singles to pick up runners moved into scoring position by good production.
“We took advantage of everything they gave us,” Brontsema said. “We were much better today at doing the small things that help you win.”