Woodward Leads Offensive Charge in 10-5 Series-Opening Victory With UC Davis

Woody Woodward (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Woody Woodward (Photo by Tony Mastres)

DAVIS, Calif. – After putting up just three hits as a team in Tuesday's loss to UCLA, the Gauchos offense rebounded in a big way on Thursday afternoon, keying UCSB to a 10-5 victory over UC Davis in the first of a three-game Big West series at Dobbins Stadium.

The 3-4-5 hitters in the UCSB lineup were especially effective, combining to go 7-12 with a whopping six RBI's.

The 10 run outburst made a winner out of Gaucho starter Austin Pettibone, who set a new career high with his ninth victory of the year.

Pettibone was extremely effective early on, facing the minimum through his first 3 2/3 innings and allowing just one run over the first seven frames on a fourth inning RBI single.

After the run in the fourth, he put the clamps back down by retiring nine of the next 10 batters he faced. However, he was victimized by a two-run home run from Austin March as part of a three-run eighth before departing.

He ended the day with a still-strong line of four runs allowed on seven hits in eight innings pitched with four strikeouts and no walks, the second time he has declined to issue a free pass in a start this season.

Barring an unexpected relief appearance, Pettibone will close the regular season with a total of 110 innings pitched, the most thrown by a UCSB pitcher since James Garcia logged 122 innings in 2001. His nine wins are the most by a Gaucho pitcher since Michael Martin went 9-4 in 2004.

Sophomore second baseman Woody Woodward led the way with the bat for the Gauchos. He matched a career-high with four hits, and drove in four runs on the day.

Woodward was the one who got the Gauchos on the board first, collecting an RBI in his first two at-bats on a sacrifice fly and single, respectively.

UCSB broke it open in the fifth, as left fielder Joey Epperson led off the inning with a base hit up the middle, then came around to score on the next play when Aggie right fielder Spencer Henderson misplayed Brandon Trinkwon's single. Woodward followed that up with a run-scoring double before Robby Nesovic singled him in to make it 6-1.

Woodward was at the heart of yet another UCSB rally in the seventh, when he singled to lead off the frame. First baseman Tyler Kuresa singled as well before a Luke Swenson RBI fielder's choice was sandwiched by RBI singles from Nesovic and Marc Venning.

The Gauchos moved to 32-23, 15-10 with the win. Couple with Cal State Northridge's loss on Thursday, UCSB now occupies third place in the Big West standings. UC Davis, losers of four straight, dropped to 19-35, 5-20.

Nesovic will be on the bump tomorrow afternoon as the Gauchos aim for their sixth consecutive series win. UC Davis will counter with righty Spencer Koomans, who has gone 1-8 this year with a 5.56 ERA. First pitch is set for 2:30 p.m.