If one is the loneliest number, then the UCSB baseball team must be feeling like the last person left on Earth after a nuclear winter.
After posting a single run while being swept in three games at Davis this weekend, the Gauchos (16-17 overall, 1-2 in the Big West) look to have a lot of work ahead of them. Santa Barbara was blanked 3-0 Friday and 9-0 Saturday, the first two times it has been shut out this season. Sunday, the Gauchos managed their one run, dropping the final game 6-1.
The Aggies (19-12) used overpowering pitching to get the job done this weekend. Friday’s starter senior Dave McKae pitched a gem, two-hitting UCSB in a complete game shutout. McKae, now 6-1 on the season, struck out a career-high 12 batters and extended his scoreless innings streak to 17.
“I give [Davis] a lot of credit – they pitched extremely well,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We had a hard time answering any of the challenges. They pitched well all weekend.”
Despite allowing just two earned runs and five hits and striking out six in eight innings, UCSB’s Friday starter junior Michael Martin picked up his third loss of the season. The Gaucho offense couldn’t get things done for Martin as he watched McKae allow just three base runners. Aggie junior first baseman Lukas Kirby gave McKae all he needed with a two-run homer in the first.
“We had to be next to perfect pitching-wise ’cause we didn’t get anything done offensively. We have really not swung the bat. It is a concern because I don’t think we have been too effective since the last Cal Poly game, where I thought we swung the bat well,” Brontsema said. “We’re just not getting the consistency that we need at the plate.”
Saturday, the inconsistency continued for UCSB. Sophomore starter Andy Graham gave up seven runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings in the loss. The Gaucho bats could not manage to score a run despite their seven hits. Three Davis pitchers combined for the shutout, with senior left-hander Peter Soskin earning the win with seven innings of only five hits from UCSB.
A close game turned ugly for the Gauchos late Sunday. Junior starter Steve Morlock gave Santa Barbara four innings of solid work, allowing just one run and two hits to keep things competitive. Gaucho freshman center fielder David Harrit brought in the only run of the weekend for UCSB with a home run, the first of his career, to tie the game at one in the fifth.
Aggie freshman center fielder David Huffman started the scoring in a three-run fifth, driving an RBI double down the right field line. From there, with senior reliever Loren Fraser in to replace Morlock, Davis would add two more in the inning and two later in the eighth off senior closer Alex McRobbie to complete the sweep.