The UCSB baseball team dropped its second-straight series, losing the two of three at Pacific in the weekend matchup.
The Tigers notched their 20th and 21st wins of the season, downing the Gauchos (15-17 overall, 2-4 in the Big West) 7-2 Thursday and 2-1 Friday. Santa Barbara finally figured out the Pacific pitching staff Saturday, salvaging the final game of the series with an offensive explosion in a 16-4 win.
In game one, the Tigers used five early runs and six shutout innings from senior righthander Luke Massetti to hold off Santa Barbara for the win. Massetti finished the day with the win, his fifth, after allowing just two runs and striking out eight through 7.1 innings of work.
Pacific got off on the right foot, scoring three runs on four hits in the first inning thanks to doubles from seniors designated hitter Matt Berezay and left fielder John Devany. The Tigers tacked on two more in the second, with both RBI going to senior center fielder Anthony Jackson on a base hit with runners on second and third.
Although they eventually broke through with a run in both the seventh and eighth innings, the Gauchos struggled against quality pitching from Massetti, recording just four hits through the first six innings. Junior righthander Andy Graham settled down after the first two innings but got the loss after throwing six innings and allowing five earned runs on 11 hits.
The pitching and defense for both teams picked up as Pacific freshman southpaw Joey Centanni and Gaucho junior lefty Jeff Braun faced off in the second game of the series. A one out triple from senior center fielder Matt Emerick gave Santa Barbara the early 1-0 lead in its half of the second inning. The Tigers responded with a run off of Braun in the bottom of the inning.
With the game tied at one, Centanni went to work retiring 18 of the last 19 batters he faced to record the complete game win, allowing the one run and just four hits. Junior reliever Justin Segal took the loss, allowing the game-winner on a Devany sacrifice fly to plate Jackson in the eighth inning.
Braun showed promise in just his third start as a Gaucho, giving up just one run on three hits in six innings of work.
The Santa Barbara bats showed signs of life Sunday, with five players notching multiple hits in the 16-4 win over the Tigers. Again, UCSB scored first, posting three runs in the first and building a 4-1 lead heading into the fifth inning. The Gauchos recorded a five-run fifth and six-run sixth to take a 15-4 lead and seal the victory.
The Gauchos took advantage of four Pacific errors on the day to plate five unearned runs. Junior shortstop Chris Valaika led the way for the Santa Barbara offense, going 2-4 with five RBI and two runs. Emerick and sophomore second baseman Alden Carrithers combined to go 4-9 at the plate, knocking in four and scoring four themselves.
Four Gaucho pitchers combined to hold the Tigers to four runs on 12 hits, forcing 12 runners left on base. Freshman reliever Matt Wade earned the win tossing three innings of two-hit baseball after junior righthander Bryan Fleming started and threw four innings, giving up four runs on nine hits.
Santa Barbara takes a break from conference play with a mid-week game Tuesday at Pepperdine before traveling to UC Irvine for a Big West series this weekend.