Remember that six-game winning streak the Gauchos had going into last weekend? Well, now it’s nine. Deal with it.
The sass in the previous statement aptly reflects the recent attitude of the red-hot UCSB baseball team. Santa Barbara swept the Hornets from Sacramento State this weekend with aggression, posting 31 runs over three days to extend the longest Gaucho winning streak since 1990.
“We have done a lot of the little things we’ve preached in practice,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “The guys are coming together and we’ve pitched and played defense about as well as we can.”
Friday, UCSB ace Michael Martin earned his eighth win on the year to remain unbeaten. Martin went six innings and scattered 10 hits while allowing just three earned runs against him.
“He’s been a big time competitor on the mound, on Friday he had the least stuff he’s had all year; he struggled with his command, but he would never give in,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “He would bend and not break, and that’s a great quality for a pitcher to have.”
UCSB was carried at the plate by another big hit from senior first baseman Greg Powers. Up 1-0 in the second inning, Powers set the tone for the series with a three-run jack and Santa Barbara would never look back.
Saturday, UCSB received their best performance of the year from a starting pitcher. Freshman right-hander Andy Graham went the distance for Brontsema, the first time a Gaucho has done so this year, shutting out the Hornets while usurping a surplus of run support in a 11-0 walloping.
“Andy’s pitched all year as well; he had command of three pitches and he was going to stay in there until he gave up a run,” Brontsema said.
Senior catcher Taylor Vogt hit two trots for UCSB, his sixth and seventh on the year, and was joined in the home run parade by junior Chris Malec and freshman Chris Valaika. The four homes were the most Santa Barbara has produced in a game in 2004.
In the series finale Sunday, UCSB continued to roll at the plate and on the mound. Sophomore right-hander Steve Morlock was not to be outdone by his predecessors. The Gaucho starter was virtually untouchable, dealing a one-hitter and shutting out the Hornets in seven innings of work.
“Morlock was as dominant as he’s been this year,” Brontsema said. “He had a one-hitter through seven, but since he pitched two games this week, we decided to pull him out.”
Santa Barbara scored early and often, posting at least one run in each of the first five innings. By the fifth inning, Morlock was riding an 8-0 lead and cruising to his fifth win of the season. UCSB exploited 11 walks, five wild pitches, two hit batsmen and two balks allowed by the Sac State pitching staff to score in the double digits for the eighth time in nine games.
The series sweep was the first for the Gauchos since last March 28 through 30 over Northridge.
The Gauchos look to extend their win streak to double digits this Thursday as well at UC Irvine.