SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Despite starting pitcher Robby Nesovic's third consecutive quality start, the Gauchos offense couldn't muster enough against Pacific's John Haberman, who delivered his team a 3-2 victory on Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
With the loss – just their second in the last nine games – the Gauchos fell to 30-22 on the year with a 13-10 conference record. Pacific improved to 14-35, 6-17.
Both starters came out of the gate throwing bullets, as Nesovic and Haberman each retired the first six batters they faced.
Pacific was able to break through in the third, however, when Tyler Sullivan's single up the middle scored Taylor Murphy, who had led off the frame with a base hit. UCSB wasn't able to get its first hit until Woody Woodward's fourth inning single.
After surrendering the run in the third, Nesovic settled back down, allowing just one hit over innings four through six. Haberman equaled Nesovic's excellence, allowing only a pair of singles over the same time frame.
The decisive top of the seventh started with an Erik Lockwood leadoff single. Second baseman Tyger Pederson stepped to the plate next attempting to put down a sacrifice bunt, but it was fielded too slowly by UCSB and so turned into a bunt single. After a successful sacrifice bunt in the next at-bat, the Tigers had runners on second and third with just one out, at which point UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts made a move to the bullpen.
Sophomore lefty Greg Mahle entered the game in a strikeout situation, but allowed back-to-back singles that plated both runs and gave Pacific a 3-0 lead. Both runs were charged to Nesovic, who ended the day with a line of three runs and five hits allowed over 6 1/3 innings pitched with one walk and a pair of strikeouts.
The Gauchos were able to get on the board with RBI singles from Robby Nesovic in the seventh and Jackson Morrow in the eighth, but were unable to come up with the game-tying run against Pacific's Michael Benson, who recorded his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth.
Woodward, Nesovic, and Morrow led the UCSB offense with a pair of singles apiece. Freshman righty Dylan Hecht surrendered no hits in 1 2/3 innings of relief.
The rubber match in the series between the Gauchos and Tigers, and final home game of the season for UCSB, will take place tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m. UCSB seniors Marc Venning and Jared Wilson will be honored in a pregame ceremony.
Should the Gauchos win, they will go undefeated in home series for an entire year for the first time in program history.