It was a little harder the second time around, but the UCSB baseball team managed to defeat cross-town rival Westmont once again, 5-3.
After slamming their way to a 16-1 season opening victory over the Warriors (4-9 overall) on Feb. 7, the Gauchos (3-3 overall) made things a little more interesting Tuesday.
After freshman starter Anthony Martin allowed two runs in the top of the first, Santa Barbara found itself in yet another first-inning hole. The Gaucho bats, however, answered in the bottom of the inning with junior designated hitter Matt Anderson delivering a two-run single with the bases loaded to tie the game at two.
“Early in the game, we were patient and got some good pitches to hit,” Anderson said. “We didn’t do a very good job of adjusting in the middle of the game.”
Freshmen left fielder Chris McMurray and third baseman Shane Carlson reached base with one out in the second inning. Sophomore second baseman Alden Carrithers brought one home with a sacrifice fly and junior right fielder Mario Lewis drove in another run with a single, giving UCSB a 4-2 lead it would not relinquish.
“Early walks helped get us going,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We didn’t exactly tear the cover off the ball, but that kind of jump started us early.”
The Gauchos added another in the seventh, well short of their 16-run output in the first game. The offense, though, has reached the 10-hit plateau in every game thus far.
“Their guys did a good job of throwing the off-speed pitch and we didn’t adjust as well as we would have liked,” Brontsema said.
Martin – making his first career start – allowed three runs and struck out four batters in 4.1 innings. UCSB is still without senior pitcher Steve Morlock who has a finger injury and will not be available to play this weekend.
“After the rough start, [Martin] was very good,” Brontsema said. “I thought he did an okay job as a first start, getting those jitters out.”
Freshman reliever Matt Wade bailed Martin out of a jam in the fifth, retiring Westmont’s cleanup and fifth hitters. Wade threw a scoreless sixth and seventh before junior reliever Justin Segal came in to shut out the Warriors in the final two innings.
“I think Martin pitched well,” Segal said. “As a reliever, you’re always ready to get the call. Wade came in and stepped it up, and I came in to do my job and put up some zeros.”
The quality bullpen help was a relief for Santa Barbara after five relievers combined to allow 11 runs in a loss to USC last week.
“[Wade] had a couple of jams, came into a jam and got out of it,” Brontsema said. “Segal was next to unhittable.”
UCSB faces one of their most difficult tests of the year as it travels to Cal this weekend. It will be the Gauchos’ first road trip of the season.