Steven Ledesma pitches. Stephen Manga/Daily Nexus

In a dominant outing, UCSB (22-19-1) senior Stevie Ledesma pitched his first complete game shutout of the year, stifling the bats of the California State University, Northridge Matadors (20-24) while getting a huge amount of run support in a 12-0 win.

CSUN now sits in fifth place just one game ahead of the sixth place Gauchos in the Big West after the loss, while UCSB is trying to make a late push to create some distance between themselves and the lower half of the standings.

The Gauchos were able to tee off junior Matador starter Isaiah Nunez early on in the game, as sophomore Tommy Jew  singled and scored junior Clay Fisher to start off the game.

Jew made his way around to third base after junior Thomas Rowan’s at bat and was able to cross the plate after a throwing error to first from the shortstop. At the end of the first inning the Gauchos were up 2-0.

The overall offensive explosion from UCSB was highlighted by three-run performances in the second, fifth, and eighth innings.

A single from sophomore Armani Smith was able to move freshman Marcos Castanon to second base for freshman Andrew Martinez’s at-bat partially through the second inning. The designated hitter knocked a three-run blast to score Smith and Castanon, allowing Martinez to join a three player tie for the team season lead with five home runs.

Junior Michael McAdoo piled onto the six-run lead in the fifth inning, hitting his own three-run home run to straightaway centerfield off of CSUN freshman Wesley Moore. A walk from junior Thomas Rowan and a center field single from Cole Mueller put them on first and second and the three RBIs for McAdoo was his second time this season. The lead increased to nine runs at the end of five innings.

The final three-run inning for UCSB came in the eighth, with Castanon beginning the inning with a single to left center field. Smith came up to the plate a couple of batters later and hit a fly ball over the Matador center fielder’s head, who played a bad route to the ball. Castanon and freshman Jason Willow, who was hit by a pitch, would come around to score on Smith’s double to make the grand total 12-0.

Ledesma was outstanding in his start for the Gauchos giving up six hits and getting seven strikeouts for the game’s duration. The 6-2 record for the starter is the best in the pitching rotation for UCSB, and tied for fourth in the Big West, and he has now picked up the victory in three consecutive starts.

In a postgame interview, Ledesma commented on his successful day praising his defense saying, “If you’re getting strikes and guys are making plays behind you that makes throwing strikes so much easier because you don’t have to worry about balls in the holes that they’re not making plays on. Them making plays makes my job a lot more easier.”

The complete game effort was Ledesma’s sixth quality start of the season as the pitcher has rarely failed to put in six full innings of work this year.

The quantity of innings he has thrown is matched by the quality of his pitching as well, as Ledesma currently sits in second place in the conference in ERA with a stellar 2.16. The impressive performance from the senior was just his latest in a recent run that has seen him rise up in the ranks and look to be an effective tool for UCSB as they inch closer to the NCAA tournament.

UCSB Head Coach Andrew Checketts message to his team remains one of quiet persistence explaining, “For this particular group we’ve handled failure better than we’ve handled success … it’ll be another battle for us tomorrow and I’m looking forward to see their response. I want to see some intent with want they do and some maturity with how they go about their business from when they walk in the park”.

The UCSB Gauchos will play the final game of the series against the CSUN Matadors at home on Sunday, May 5 at 1 PM PST.