Gauchos Fall Victim to Long Ball in 7-5 Loss to USD

Luke Swenson (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Luke Swenson (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The Gauchos rapped out 13 hits on Tuesday night – including a season-best six extra base hits – but fell victim to a trio of USD home runs in a 7-5 loss at Fowler Park.

The Toreros (21-15) offense – which accumulated just eight hits – was led by leadoff hitter Kris Bryant, who had a pair of home runs in the win - a two-run shot in the third and a solo round-tripper in the seventh. Catcher Austin Green added a three-run bomb in the fourth inning that would end up being the game-winning hit.

It was just the second time this season that the Gauchos (18-17) lost a game when outhitting the opponent.

Trailing 7-4 heading into the eighth, the Gauchos threatened in consecutive innings, but ultimately could not tie up the score.

Left fielder Joey Epperson and pinch hitter Parker Miles chipped in back-to-back doubles with two outs in the eighth inning to scrape across a run and bring the score to 7-5.

The first two UCSB batters reached to start the ninth inning, with Woody Woodward getting hit by a pitch for the team-leading tenth time this season and Brandon Trinkwon reaching after first baseman Connor Joe pulled his foot from the bag trying to scoop a low throw from second baseman Logan Davis.

After failing to put down a sacrifice bunt, UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts put the runners in motion on an 0-2 count with freshman designated hitter Robby Nesovic at the plate. Nesovic promptly sent a line drive into left field that was snagged by Lucas Hagberg, who threw out Woodward by a step trying to get back to second base. First baseman Tyler Kuresa then grounded out to end the game.

It was one of the few times on the day that Kuresa did not deliver, as the sophomore went 2-5 with his second home run of the year. He also contributed an RBI double in the third as part of the biggest offensive inning of the day for the Gauchos.

Ryan Clark and Cameron Newell would lead off that inning with back-to-back singles. After a Woodward groundout, Trinkwon would score both with a double to right field before coming around himself on Kuresa's two-bagger. After that frame, the Gauchos would actually lead 3-0, but then the Toreros would storm back for six runs over the next two innings.

Freshman righty Connor Baits struggled in his second start for UCSB, allowing six earned runs over four innings, allowing six hits and walking two with a pair of strikeouts. It was the first time this season that Baits surrendered multiple walks in the same outing. With the loss, his record fell to 1-1.

The Gauchos bullpen would then combine to allow one run over four innings. Freshman lefty Domenic saw the most time on the bump, throwing 2 2/3 innings pitched while being charged with one earned run.

Jared Wilson would give up no hits over an inning of work, while freshman righty Dillon Tate made his UCSB debut in the eighth, getting Bryant to pop up to end the inning.

In the loss, UCSB left fielder Luke Swenson added three singles, tying his career high in hits.

This upcoming weekend, the Gauchos will welcome Long Beach State to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a three-game Big West Conference series. Tickets for all games can be found here.