Pettibone, Kuresa Lift Gauchos Past San Francisco in Home Opener, 6-1

Austin Pettibone (by Christopher Clark)
Austin Pettibone (by Christopher Clark)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara's scheduled home opener against UCLA on Tuesday afternoon was postponed a week because of the forecast of bad weather making Friday's game against the  University of San Francisco the team's first home game of the season.

The Gauchos wasted no time helping themselves to home cooking, scoring three runs in the first inning and then riding the arm of right hander Austin Pettibone to a 6-1 win at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

UCSB (3-1) jumped on Dons' (1-4) starter Abe Bobb three runs and three hits, including back-to-back triples, in the first inning.

One out after Bobb walked Cameron Newell to open the game, shortstop Brandon Trinkwon slammed a triple to right center field, chasing home the first run.  Trinkwon's three-bagger was matched by first baseman Tyler Kuresa who drilled his own triple down the right field line to score the second run.  Marc Venning was then hit on the hand by a pitch and stole second.  One out later, Kuresa came home on an infield single by Luke Swenson.

The Gauchos added a run in the third when pinch hitter Parker Miles was hit by a pitch with one out, went to third on a single to right by designated hitter Greg Mahle and scored on a sacrifice fly to left by Swenson.

Santa Barbara scored two more runs in the fourth.  Newell tied a school record when he led off the inning with the Gauchos' third triple of the game, finishing off Bobb.  USF's starter was replaced by Bob Mott who allowed a sacrifice fly to the first batter he faced, Peter Maris, push the lead to 5-0.

Kuresa made his first home game at UCSB even more memorable when he added a solo home run to right field to the triple he hit in the first inning, giving the Gauchos a 6-0 lead after four innings.

That was all the support Pettibone (2-0) needed as he cruised through 7.1 shutout innings allowing just five singles and one walk while striking out three.  He was lifted in the eighth after coaxing Justin Maffei into a fly ball out to start the inning.  Robby Nesovic pitched the rest of the eighth inning.

The Dons scored their only run of the game in the bottom of the ninth when they struck for three singles off of Nesovic.  Freshman Connor Baits entered the game with two outs and the bases full and needed just three pitches to strike out Maffei to end the game and claim his first save of the season.

UCSB and USF will continue their series on Saturday with a doubleheader that will begin at 11:00 a.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.  The series will conclude on Sunday with a 1:00 p.m. game.

Tickets for all games can be purchased online by clicking here or at the main entrance of the stadium 90 minutes before first pitch.