The UCSB baseball team notched its fourth consecutive victory yesterday, accumulating 19 hits on the way to a 15-9 win over Westmont.
The Gauchos (16-18 overall, 4-2 in the Big West) fell behind 6-3 early on thanks in part to some sloppy defense, but the bats woke up in the bottom of the third as UCSB plated six runs to break the game wide open. Westmont (5-32) made things interesting with a three-run sixth inning, but timely relief pitching from the Gauchos put the game away.
“I don’t think we played that great today with four errors, but we did do a lot of good things,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “We ran the bases well and swung the bats well obviously, and we had a handful of guys pitch very well.”
UCSB batted around in the third inning to retake the lead. Sophomore outfielder Brian Gump led the way with a two-run double, taking advantage of a rare start in left field. Gump finished the day 3-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. Gump was not the only Gaucho to put up big numbers, as six different players finished with multiple hits.
Junior centerfielder Chris Fox finished with three hits and two runs scored at the top of the order, followed by junior third baseman Patrick Rose, who reached base four times on the day and scored twice. The middle of the lineup took advantage of Fox and Rose being on base all day, as seniors Robbie Blauer and Matt Anderson combined for three hits and four RBI. Freshman designated hitter Cody Dee finished 3-for-4 and freshman infielder Gunnar Terhune scored three runs in place of regular shortstop Shane Carlson.
“We needed to give [Carlson] a day off and [Terhune] got to play a full game, and we let him play shortstop because that’s his natural position and he hasn’t played there a lot [this season],” Brontsema said.
While the backup hitters took advantage of the opportunity to get in the lineup, Brontsema used Tuesday’s game as a chance to get some much-needed work for the bullpen. Seven different pitchers saw action, but no one stepped up quite like junior Kyle Brown, who continued to cement his role as a key setup man for the Gauchos.
With UCSB leading 11-8 in the top of the sixth, Brown replaced sophomore Matt Wade, who had loaded the bases and given up two runs in the inning while failing to record an out. The tying run stood on first base, but Brown induced a double play before striking out Warriors first baseman Jason Younker to end the inning. The Gauchos bounced back to score four runs in the bottom of the sixth, putting the game away for good.
“We didn’t have a lot of guys in reserve so Brown had to come in and go an extra inning,” Brontsema said. “[Getting out of the sixth inning] was very big for us.”
The Gauchos will resume Big West action on Friday when #18 UC Irvine (25-10-1, 5-4 Big West) comes to town for a three game series. Friday’s first pitch is slated for 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.