During spring break, the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos headed north for the weekend to play the California State University, Fresno Bulldogs. After the road trip, the Gauchos hosted the Santa Clara University Broncos on the first day back from Spring Break. The Gauchos went 1-3 in the four games they played. UC Santa Barbara lost 9-3 and 8-5 to the Bulldogs but won 13-5. They also lost 7-4 to the Broncos.

Nexus File Photo

The Gauchos started game one of the series swinging as sophomore outfielder Ivan Brethowr homered on the second pitch to give the Gauchos the 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, Brethowr had to be removed from the game due to his knee popping out while celebrating in the dugout. 

Brethowr’s injury seems minor, as structurally nothing was damaged, and the team looks to include him in the next conference series. 

Fresno State responded the next half of the inning as they did the damage with the long ball. The Bulldogs pushed another run across the board to take the 2-1 lead. Sophomore pitcher Matt Ager limited the damage from there by keeping the Bulldogs scoreless from there. 

Ager went five and one-third of innings pitched, only allowing 3 hits, 4 walks and 6 strikeouts. Ager was set up for the no-decision as his teammates scored one more to tie it in the 4th. Junior outfielder Jonah Sebring forced a throwing error as he stole third base to walk across home unfazed to tie it 2-2. 

The game remained scoreless as both teams went back and forth, getting out of jams. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the Bulldogs blew the game open, scoring 7 runs in the 8th inning — 4 runs of those coming off a grand slam. 

Senior outfielder Christian Kirtley cut the deficit to 6 as he hit a no-doubt home run to left field, making it 9-3. The Gauchos did no damage after the homer as they dropped the opening game of the series 9-3.

The Bulldogs came out hot in the second game of the series, scoring 4 runs in the first 4 innings. The Gauchos did not respond until the game was 6-0 in the 7th inning. Sophomore catcher Aaron Parker broke the shutout as he hit a solo home run to make it 6-1. 

Another Gaucho, senior catcher John Newman, Jr., hit a home run in the 9th inning, scoring 3, making the game 8-5. However, UC Santa Barbara couldn’t push any more runs across as they lost 2 in a row. 

In the series’ final game, the Gauchos were not looking to get swept as they scored 3 runs in 3 innings. The Bulldogs scored runs of their own in the next 2 innings, as the score became 3-2.

Sophomore third baseman Zander Darby grew the Gauchos’ lead as he hit a solo home run to make it 4-2. UC Santa Barbara didn’t stop there as junior outfielder Jared Sundstrom hit a 2-run home run off the bench to make it 6-2. 

The Bulldogs responded quickly as in the next half; they scored 3 runs to cut the lead back to 1. The Gauchos gave their freshmen closer Hudson Barrett insurance runs as they scored 6 runs in the next 4 innings. Barrett earned the 13-5 win as he did not allow any runs, giving up 3 hits and striking out 4. 

Coming back from up north, the Gauchos played another non-conference game against the Broncos as junior pitcher JD Callahan took the mound for the Gauchos. The Broncos took first blood as they hit a sacrifice fly to make 1-0. 

The Broncos threatened to score again as Callahan found himself in a bases-loaded jam with no one out. Callahan put all the momentum on the Gauchos’ side as he struck out the next three to leave ducks on the pond. 

In the next half Darby hit a sacrifice fly to tie it 1-1. Newman continued the momentum as he hit a solo home run to give the Gauchos the 2-1 lead. The Broncos responded quickly, tying it in the 5th. The Broncos then scored 5 unanswered runs, giving them the 7-2 lead. 

The Gauchos cut the deficit to three as Sundstrom and Kirtley both homered in the 9th, but the late effort wasn’t enough, and the Gauchos lost 7-4.