There are tough wins, there are easy wins, and then there are flat out blowouts. UC Santa Barbara’s 14-0 triumph yesterday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium against Pepperdine can only be classified as the latter.
With the win, the Gauchos (19-7 overall, 3-0 in the Big West) now boast an imposing 15-1 home record and are riding a seven-game winning streak heading into tomorrow’s rematch against Pepperdine (17-9 overall, 1-1 in the WCC). Tuesday’s victory over the Waves could easily be Santa Barbara’s most impressive win of the season, owning the game from a hitting and pitching standpoint against a team that was ranked #11 in the country coming into the series.
“Obviously you don’t expect to put up 14 runs against a pitching squad like Pepperdine’s,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “I thought we had a good approach and made adjustments early against [Pepperdine starter Robert] Dickmann, a quality pitcher who’s beaten some very good teams.”
Dickmann, 2-0 in his last two starts with a stingy 1.46 ERA, was jumped on early by a potent Gaucho offense that had all of its starters finish with at least one hit. Freshman outfielder Mark Haddow was a key contributor to the Santa Barbara offensive attack, launching his first collegiate home run in the second inning, plating himself and senior third baseman Patrick Rose. Haddow, making his fourth start of the season in place of injured right fielder John DeAlba, also took away a Pepperdine homer in the top of the fourth with a nice leaping grab against the right field wall.
“Haddow had a great game and really saved me with that catch,” senior pitcher Michael Martin said. “In the future I see him being a big-time hitter for this ball club.”
With the game still in reach for the Waves with a score of 4-0 heading into the bottom of the fourth, the Gauchos would explode for one of their biggest innings of the season, batting around the line-up and scoring eight runs. Junior catcher Chris McMurray had himself quite an inning, leading off with a solo shot that barely stayed fair before blasting a second home run with two runners on. McMurray is now tied for the team lead in home runs with senior designated hitter Chris Fox with four bombs apiece.
The offense gave Martin (3-0, 3.09 ERA) plenty of breathing room and he went seven innings, shutting out a dangerous Wave offense that leads the WCC in team batting average at .312. Despite a shaky first inning where Martin plunked two batters and had to get himself out of a bases loaded situation, the designated fourth starter for UCSB regained his composure and was on cruise control for the rest of the game, allowing only three hits with three strikeouts.
“They [Pepperdine] are an aggressive club, but Mike [Marin] can locate his pitches and he took advantage of that,” said Brontsema. “He doesn’t get flustered in pressure situations, and that’s what really makes him a successful pitcher.”
UCSB will try and duplicate Tuesday’s success when they rematch Pepperdine tomorrow on the road, marking the first time in nearly three weeks that Santa Barbara will play away from CU Stadium. The 3 p.m. contest will feature freshman right-hander Greg Davis, making his third start of the season. Davis (1-1, 5.84 ERA) was successful in his Gaucho starting debut, but struggled in his last outing against Cal Poly back in early March, allowing three runs on five hits before being pulled in the third inning.
“You don’t know what the results are going to be, so all you can expect is the same kind of effort,” Brontsema said. “It should be a good challenge for Greg [Davis], and if he can pitch at all like our guys did today, we should be pretty well off.”