FRESNO, Calif. — An eight run offensive explosion in the seventh inning propelled the Gauchos to an 11-3 win in Sunday's rubber match at Fresno State, giving UCSB its first series win over the Bulldogs since 2005. It was truly a team victory, as six different batters knocked in a run for the Gauchos and the bullpen allowed just two hits over 5.1 innings of work.
The Gauchos improved to 2-1 with the victory, while the Bulldogs fell to 1-2.
Fresno State was first to get on the board, as right fielder Jordan Luplow was able to score on an Aaron Judge double in the first inning. Judge would come around himself in the very next at-bat, scoring on a Trent Garrison single. UCSB starter Justin Jacome, in his collegiate debut, rebounded after that, getting Austin Wynns to ground out and striking out Jordan Brink to end the rally. The Redland, Calif. native would go on to strike out the next four batters he faced.
The freshman southpaw would run into a bit of trouble again in the fourth inning, loading the bases with two outs. UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts decided to make a move to the bullpen, bringing in freshman righty Kenny Chapman, who got Luplow to ground out to end the inning.
Leading 2-0 in the seventh inning, Fresno State head coach Mike Batesole dipped into his bullpen, bringing in Tyler Stirewalt to relieve freshman Tim Borst, who threw six shutout innings with four strikeouts and no walks in his Bulldogs debut. Stirewalt walked sophomore left fielder Joe Woodward before making way for Tyler Linehan.
The Gauchos quickly got to Linehan, singling in five straight at bats to plate four runs and put runners on first and second. After a strikeout and an error that loaded the bases, Woodward damaged the Bulldogs for the second time in the inning, doubling down the right field line to clear the bags. Sophomore second baseman Peter Maris followed that up with an RBI double down the left field line to cap off the seven hit, eight run outburst.
Linehan would end up getting tagged with the loss, allowing seven runs — four of which were unearned — in 0.2 innings pitched,
While the Gauchos got their bats going, Chapman did an excellent job of keeping the Fresno State offense in check. The Claremont, Calif. native retired the first 11 batters he faced, striking out three. The first and only hit Chapman would surrender would be to the twelfth batter he faced, as Aaron Judge homered for the first time in the series. Though his day ended on a bit of a sour note, Chapman was rewarded with his first career win, ending the night win a line of 3.2 innings pitched, one run allowed, one hit allowed, three strikeouts, and no walks.
Freshman right hander Dylan Hecht closed out the game for the Gauchos, giving up just one hit and striking out a pair over his 1.2 innings.
UCSB tacked on three insurance runs in the top of the ninth inning. Joe Woodward once again started a rally, this time with two outs and nobody on. The speedy outfielder was able to reach via a bunt single, then stole second base with sophomore outfielder Luke Swenson at the plate. Swenson would end up getting hit by a pitch, and then catcher Jackson Morrow and center fielder Cameron Newell would follow that up with back-to-back singles. Morrow would score on a wild pitch before the rally could be extinguished.
Newell and Morrow would end the night with three hits apiece, while Maris, Brandon Trinkwon, Tyler Kuresa, and Woodward each chipped in a pair of hits. As a team, the Gauchos racked up 15 hits, a figure that was eclipsed only four times in 2012.
UCSB will return home this week for the start of its home schedule. First up is No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. The Gauchos will then host the University of San Francisco for a four-game series from Friday, Feb. 22-Sunday, Feb. 24. Tickets for all games can be purchased here.