The UCSB baseball team slugged its way to a series victory over future Big West opponent UC Davis this weekend, ending a four-game losing streak in the process.
The Gauchos (23-27 overall, 9-9 in the Big West) took the first two games of the series before the Aggies recovered to take Sunday’s series finale (22-30). While the pitching staff struggled at times, the offense came through all weekend long with 20 total runs on 36 hits in three games.
“Hitting is contagious,” senior right fielder Mario Lewis said. “We’re all putting good at-bats together up and down the lineup and every time you win you just get more confidence.”
Despite pounding out 15 hits on Sunday, the Gauchos were unable to overcome a poor start from senior southpaw Jeff Braun, eventually losing 8-6. Braun allowed six earned runs in three innings before giving way to the bullpen. Senior Brian Tracy and sophomore Matt Wade kept the Gauchos in the game with five innings of one-hit ball in relief of Braun, but UCSB was unable to score after the fourth inning. Six Gauchos finished with multiple hits, led by junior second baseman Patrick Rose who went three-for-five and finished a homer short of the cycle. Lewis also pounded out three hits to go along with a run scored and an RBI.
Junior center fielder Chris Fox scored twice and picked up two hits to extend his hitting streak to 22 games. Senior first baseman Robbie Blauer continued to keep pace with Fox, as his two hits extended his hitting streak to 19 games. Blauer has now picked up a hit in 47 of 50 games that he has played this season.
Nine different Gauchos had hits and seven players picked up an RBI on Saturday as the Gauchos steamrolled the Aggies pitching staff en route to an 11-8 victory. Senior catcher Matt Anderson had the big hit for the Gauchos with a three-run homer in the first inning. The middle infield duo of Rose and sophomore shortstop Shane Carlson led the way with three hits a piece. While it wasn’t pretty at times, the depleting pitching staff put together enough outs to get the Gauchos through the game. Senior Justin Aspegren pitched three innings in relief to pick up his first win of the season, with senior right-hander Justin Segal coming on in the ninth for his eighth save.
A two-out single from Carlson brought home the winning run in the top of the ninth inning on Friday, as UCSB held on for a 3-2 victory. With the offense struggling to scrape together runs, freshman right-hander Mike Ford turned in a dominating performance to keep the Gauchos in the game. Ford gave up nine hits and one unearned run in seven innings of work before giving way to Segal. The senior relinquished the lead with a run in the eighth, but after Carlson allowed the Gauchos to retake the lead, Segal retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the win.
“[Ford] pitched really well for us,” Lewis said. “He threw strikes and got ahead of hitters and he did a really good job. [Segal] was solid this weekend and he’s really been like that all season long.”
The Gauchos have one more nonconference game this season with USC (26-25, 8-12 in the Pac-10) scheduled to visit Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Wednesday. The Trojans defeated the Gauchos 7-5 last week in L.A. Wednesday’s first pitch will be at 2 p.m.