The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos traveled to San Diego as they took on the UC San Diego Tritons for the Big West Conference series. The Gauchos dominated the weekend, sweeping the Tritons 4-2, 10-3 and 11-5. 

In the opening game of the series, the Tritons tried to catch the Gauchos off guard as they started an opener against them. UCSB, staying alert at all times, submitted a line-up card with freshman pitcher Frank Camarillo playing second base and junior pitcher JD Callahan playing center field.

Both Camarillo and Callahan were pinch-hit for as freshman outfielder Josh Williams and sophomore outfielder Justin Trimble replaced them for the ideal matchup against the Tritons. 

Through 5 innings, the game remained scoreless as sophomore pitcher Matt Ager continued his dominant sophomore campaign. Ager pitched 6 innings, limiting the Tritons to 3 hits and 6 strikeouts. 

In the top of the 6th inning, the Gauchos broke the scoreless tie as senior outfielder Christian Kirtley made himself a productive out. The senior grounded out to shortstop bringing in sophomore third baseman Zander Darby to make it 1-0 UCSB.

The Gauchos extended their lead in the top of the 7th. Sophomore catcher Aaron Parker led off the 7th inning with a single. Parker scored on a wild pitch after being moved to third on a single from sophomore first baseman LeTrey McCollum.

Working with a 2-0 lead, Ager tried to work into the 7tn inning but was pulled after a leadoff walk. Junior pitcher Carter Benbrook was called upon to inherit Ager’s runner and end the inning with no damage. 

Head Coach Andrew Checketts’ plan didn’t go how he wanted as a fielding error scored 2 runs, one earned and one unearned. The run was given to Ager as the leadoff walk proved to be costly. Benbrook limited the damage from there as he ended the 7th inning in a 2-2 tie. 

From there, the game remained tied until the top of the 9th inning. Junior second baseman Jonah Sebring got the Gauchos going as he hit a leadoff double, where he soon found himself on third after a dropped third strike. Moments later, Sebring brought the crowd to their feet as he stole home on a pickoff attempt to first base. 

The Gauchos added one more in the top half to make it 4-2. Freshman pitcher Tyler Bremner sealed the win for the Gauchos as he struck the last batter out looking.

For game two, the offense came alive for the Gauchos. Senior outfielder Broc Mortensen doubled in 2 runs, making it 2-0. In the inning, McCollum earned an RBI walk, and freshman shortstop Corey Nunez also singled in two to make it 5-0. 

In the next half of the inning, the Gauchos tried a new strategy: moving freshman pitcher Hudson Barrett from the bullpen to Saturday starter. Barrett showed no nerves in his first collegiate start, as in 5 innings, he only gave up 3 hits and 8 strikeouts. 

UCSB added more to their total as Sebring, Nunez and junior catcher John Newman, Jr., homered in separate innings to make it 9-0. Junior pitcher Nick Welch and sophomore pitcher Michael Rice both came in relief to give the Gauchos the 10-3 win.

As UCSB looked to get the sweep on the weekend, the offense picked up from where they left off. To begin the game, Mortensen hit a 2-run home run to make it 2-0 Gauchos quickly. 

Callahan took the mound for the Gauchos as he kept the Tritons scoreless for 2 innings while striking out 4. UCSB gave their pitcher breathing room as they scored 4 runs in the top of the 3rd. Parker earned 2 RBIs after a 2-run homer, while Nunez and junior outfielder Jared Sundstrom singled in 1 run to make it 6-0. 

Callahan was in trouble in the bottom 3rd as the Tritons had already scored 2 runs and threatened to score more. Callahan remained calm as he struck out the last batter to end the inning and eliminate further damage. 

From there, the Gauchos continued to dominate as they scored 5 more runs and sealed the 11-5 win with Benbrook coming in from the bullpen.

With this sweep, the Gauchos made a massive jump in the Big West Conference standings, as they went from fifth to second. Next weekend, from April 28-30, UCSB will host the UC Davis Aggies at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a three-game series, marking their return to their home field.