The #14 UCSB men’s club baseball team went undefeated in the Swing into Spring Classic in Mesquite, Nevada this weekend before the rain forced an early end to the tournament.
UCSB prevailed 11-1 against Utah State in the first game after scoring seven runs in the fourth inning. Michael Stosz and Spencer Zaputil each had two hits and combined for three runs scored.
“I was pleased with our performance. We came out there and took care of business from the start,” coach and first baseman Michael Cochran said.
The Gauchos’ second contest came against #7 Weber State.
“I talked to the new guys and told them that we’ve lost to them the last couple years, so we needed to come out and make a statement,” Cochran said.
UCSB made that statement, scoring two or more runs in each of the first four innings on the way to a 15-2 victory.
Stosz picked up two more hits and an RBI, and Cochran smashed a double and drove in three runs. The Gauchos’ ace, Zack Buchta, worked six innings, striking out seven and giving up one earned run.
UCSB completed its tournament sweep against Snow College in a rain-shortened seven-inning game. After a game-tying RBI by CJ Connolly, Cory Teed forced a balk that resulted in a walk-off 2-1 victory. Third baseman Andrew Bertolero led the offense with two hits and two runs. Dylan Nickerson earned the victory, striking out nine in a complete game.
The Gauchos’ record now stands at 8-1, including 3-0 in the South Pacific West Conference.
Second baseman and shortstop Kyle Aganad earned NCBA Player of the Week on Feb. 10 for his performance against USD, and is currently hitting .480 on the season. Buchta, after leading the NCBA last year with a 0.72 ERA, has already picked up three wins and 14 strikeouts with a .79 ERA.
UCSB is poised to make another deep run into the playoffs this year after making it to Regionals the past three years. The Gauchos were one win away from reaching the World Series last year before falling to the University of Arizona. With 15 returning seniors, the team has its sights set high.
“We’re expecting to win our division,” Cochran said. “And after falling one game short of the World Series last year, there’s no reason for us not get right back there. All we have to do is play Gaucho baseball.”