The UCSB baseball team’s old habits came back to haunt it as the squad issued 13 walks and hit two batters in a 10-5 loss to #20 Pepperdine University.
Five of the Waves’ (38-18 overall) 10 runs came on free passes, and the squad combined timely hitting with the extra base runners to take an 8-3 lead after three innings.
“The walks and our lack of intensity put us in a hole and it seemed like we were down 20-0 the whole day,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “Our lack of command pitching-wise kind of sucked the wind out of us.”
Gaucho junior starter Bryan Fleming lasted just one inning, allowing two runs as the first two batters of the game reached on doubles. Relievers freshmen Anthony Martin, Matt Wade, and Clayton Edwards, junior Justin Aspegren and senior Andrew Schoneberger all saw time out of the bullpen for UCSB. Aspegren was the only pitcher that did not get tagged for a run, throwing two scoreless innings.
“Justin has worked very hard,” Brontsema said. “He had limited time and he came in and was effective. He didn’t give up any runs and he had some command of his pitches.”
The Santa Barbara offense managed to break through against the Waves’ sophomore pitcher Barry Enright, but could not keep pace with Pepperdine’s bats, as Enright picked up his 12th win on the year. Junior left fielder Brian Lee tallied two hits on the day, including his seventh home run this season.
“Offensively, we put up four runs on their starter and, at times, we were a big hit from being right in the ball game,” Brontsema said.
The Waves were led by junior left fielder Luke Salas, who chipped in two hits along with a bases-clearing triple with three runners on base in the fourth inning. Sophomore center fielder and leadoff man Adrian Ortiz led Pepperdine with three hits and one scored run. Junior catcher Chad Tracy, brother of Gaucho junior pitcher Brian Tracy, was held hitless in three at-bats.
The UCSB pitching staff’s struggles yesterday came as a bit of a surprise considering its recent success. The 10 runs allowed were the most since UC Irvine scored 14 against the Gauchos on April 23.
“The story of the day is that we just didn’t get it done on the mound. It starts with pitching and you can’t give up that many free opportunities and expect to win,” Brontsema said. “It’s very frustrating because we have pitched so well over the last month. This was an important game because they are a regional club, they’re a ranked club, and we have played well against ranked teams throughout the year.”
Santa Barbara (23-25 overall, 8-10 in the Big West) plays its final nonconference series this weekend as UC Davis visits Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a weekend series.