SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Austin Pettibone pitched yet another gem and Woody Woodward had a career-high five RBIs as the Gauchos soundly defeated the visiting Pacific Tigers 12-1 on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
With his solid eight inning effort, Pettibone, the UCSB starter, picked up his team-leading eighth win of the season, matching his win total from his freshman year. It was the sixth time this season that the sophomore righty – who is leading the Big West in innings pitched – pitched at least eight innings.
In the win, Pettibone allowed just five hits to Pacific, one off his season-low of four hits, which he accomplished in a complete game shutout of Sacramento State on Mar. 15.
After allowing a leadoff single to Tyler Sullivan to open the game, Pettibone retired nine straight Pacific batters, and the Tigers wouldn't be able to scrape another hit across until Gio Brusa's fifth inning single. Brusa would later score on a sacrifice fly to give Pacific their only run of the day. They threatened again in the eighth with a pair of two-out singles off Pettibone, but Dustin Torchio bounced out to Tyler Kuresa to end the inning.
Woodward, the UCSB second baseman, opened the scoring with a bases loaded single to right-center in the third inning that would plate the eventual scoring run.
The Gauchos – winners of seven of their last eight – improved to 30-21 overall on the season and 13-9 in Big West play, while the struggling Tigers fell to 13-35, 5-17.
The UCSB lineup did not take Pettibone's dominance as an invitation to put on the brakes, as the Gauchos terrorized the Pacific bullpen by scoring multiple runs in the final four innings of the game.
Junior left fielder Joey Epperson continued his hot hitting with an RBI single in the fifth, and then came around to score – alongside Brandon Trinkwon – when a Woodward groundball was misplayed by Pacific shortstop Brett Sullivan.
Trinkwon then knocked in another pair by ripping a two-out single to right field in the sixth. First baseman Tyler Kuresa followed that up with a two-run big fly in the seventh – his fourth of the year – before Woodward closed the scoring with another two-run single in the eighth.
Woodward's five RBIs were both a career-high and the most by a Gaucho in a single game this season. It was also just the second time this season that UCSB had won a game by a double-digit margin.
During UCSB's current 7-1 run, they have outscored their opponents 55-29.
Despite one of being just three UCSB starters to finish without an RBI, Jackson Morrow had an extremely strong day with the bat, putting down two perfect sacrifice bunts in his first two at-bats before singling twice to end the day.
The Gauchos will go for the series win tomorrow afternoon, as they will hand the ball to freshman righty Robby Nesovic, who has won his last two starts. Nesovic will be opposed by Pacific's John Haberman, who is 1-5 on the year with a 5.11 ERA. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.