The UCSB baseball team sure tried to make it look like a rivalry. However, a five-run fifth, four-run sixth and three-run seventh inning for the Gauchos turned a competitive game into a 14-2 beating of Westmont.
The Gauchos (5-2) made it 11 straight over the Warriors (1-8) with timely two-out hitting and strong relief pitching late in the game.
“This win definitely keeps our confidence up,” senior catcher Matt Kalafatis said. “It keeps us confident in our bats and our ability to score.”
UCSB got on the board early, getting an RBI double from freshman infielder Matt Aidem in the bottom of the first. The Gauchos would not score again for two innings.
Warrior freshman starter Tyson Bagley recorded six straight outs after the Aidem double before being relieved in the third.
“[Westmont’s] first guy was pretty good,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We were also a little sluggish, there’s no question about that. I think part of that is a tribute to Westmont’s play.”
The Warriors responded with a run in the third. After freshman second baseman Anthony Martinez singled into center, leftfielder Darren Fouret’s two-out base hit brought him home to tie the game at one apiece.
Westmont took a 2-1 lead in the fourth when two Gaucho errors brought senior third baseman Cody Gore around to score. UCSB answered back though, knotting the score again in the bottom half of the fourth.
“We came out confident but not taking them too lightly,” Kalafatis said. “It’s crucial to be able to score with two outs and keep the rally going.”
UCSB sophomore starter Brian Tracy sat the Warriors down in order in the fifth. From there, the Gaucho offense took over, lighting up senior reliever Kiel Zielke. Senior rightfielder Matt Wilkerson drove in the go-ahead and eventual winning run on a single to start off a five-run inning for UCSB.
With two down in the fifth, Kalafatis opened the game up with a two-run single into center. Senior third baseman David Figoni followed with a two-run home run over the left field wall to give the Gauchos a 7-2 lead.
“Kalafatis’ at bat was the big one. He did a couple of things well. First, he took a strike and allowed us to steal,” Brontsema said. “Then, he battled with two strikes and got the big hit before the dagger, Figoni’s home run.”
Back-to-back doubles in the sixth from Aidem and senior second baseman Chris Malec gave UCSB a six-run advantage. Malec would score on a passed ball before three straight walks brought in two more runs for the Gauchos.
The UCSB bench got a chance to contribute in the seventh. Only two starters remained in the game, allowing replacements freshman outfielder David Harrit and junior infielder Travis LeBouf to drive in the final three runs for the Gauchos, giving them the 14-2 win.
Tracy earned the win, giving up one earned run on four hits, striking out four in five innings. Another strong outing from the Gaucho bullpen put the game away. Four relief pitchers threw one inning apiece, allowing four hits and no runs.