UC Santa Barbara hosted Seton Hall University on March 9 after a slight rain delay. Then, the Gauchos found themselves on the road to play a double-header on March 12 against rival California Polytechnic State University. The Gauchos won all three games, 2-1 against Seton Hall, 12-4 and 8-4 against Cal Poly.Against the Seton Hall Pirates, the Gauchos Friday starter, junior pitcher Mike Gutierrez, was on the mound. Both pitchers dueled back and forth, as the game was scoreless through 4 innings.
Gutierrez limited the Pirates’ offense to 2 hits through 4 innings while earning 4 strikeouts. However, Gutierrez could only hold Seton Hall for so long. In the 5th inning, Seton Hall struck across a run on a solo home run, giving the Pirates the lead.
Gutierrez gave up one more hit in the inning but only allowed one run from the long ball. Gutierrez’s day was finished after 7 innings, giving up 5 hits, one walk and 9 strikeouts. Gutierrez also won, thanks to his team’s comeback in the 7th.
In the bottom of the 7th, sophomore catcher Aaron Parker hit the gap for a double as both runners on base scored, giving the Gauchos a 2-1 lead. Freshman pitcher Hudson Barrett came in for the save, stranding two runners on base and giving the Gauchos the 2-1 win.
The Gauchos then hit the road to Cal Poly after weather complications canceled the next two games against Seton Hall. The cancellation led to last-minute arrangements to play the Mustangs for a double-header.
In game one of the double-header, the Gauchos struck first and continued to pour it on in bunches. Junior second baseman Jonah Sebring started the scoring early after an RBI single in the 3rd. The Gauchos kept it moving the next inning by scoring 5 more runs to give themselves the 6-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 4th.
Sophomore pitcher Matt Ager kept the Mustangs scoreless until the 4th, as a single up the middle scored two, making it 6-2 in favor of the Gauchos. Cal Poly added two more against Ager as a single and a fielder’s choice made it 6-4 after 5 innings.
Ager ended his day by giving up 4 runs on 5 hits but only allowing 1 walk on 3 strikeouts. Junior pitcher Carter Benbrook relieved Ager and shut down Cal Poly the moment he came in. Benbrook won by going three and two-thirds allowing 1 hit, no runs, and 3 strikeouts.
The Gauchos extended their lead before sealing the win with sophomore pitcher Michael Rice getting the last 3 outs. UC Santa Barbara took the first game 12-4, and they got ready for the next game shortly after.
As the Gauchos looked to push their win streak to 6, the Mustangs had other plans. Freshman pitcher Reed Moring found himself in early trouble by giving up 4 runs in the second.
UC Santa Barbara quickly responded as Parker hit an RBI single, followed by a 3-run home run from senior outfielder Broc Mortensen. After 3 innings of play, the score found itself tied at 4.
The game remained tied at 4 until the 9th inning. The Gauchos pushed four runs across, coming off RBIs from Mortensen, Parker, and sophomore outfielder Ivan Brethowr.
The Gauchos look to extend their win streak as they face off against California State University, Bakersfield at home in a 3-game series March 17-19. Game times are set to start at 5:05 p.m., 4:05 p.m. and 1:05 p.m.; all 3 games will be on ESPN+.
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