TUCSON, Ariz. – UCSB split two games of a doubleheader against the No. 10 Mississippi State Bulldogs and Arizona Wildcats on Saturday afternoon at the Hi Corbett Classic Tournament.
A magnificent performance by the UCSB bullpen allowed the Gauchos to hold on 7-6 in their first game in Saturday's doubleheader against the Bulldogs. The second game was against the host Wildcats, in which they were defeated 10-5.
With the doubleheader split, the Gauchos record now stands at 9-2 for the season. UCSB had extended their winning streak to eight games with the first win of the day, but it was consequently snapped due to the second game loss.
Offensively against the Bulldogs, the Gauchos were led by Robby Nesovic, who went 2 for 4 with three RBIs. Also standing out was Woody Woodward, who went 2 for 3 with a walk and three runs scored. Joey Epperson and Cameron Newell also added two hits, and Tyler Kuresa clubbed a two-run double to open the scoring for UCSB.
Down 1-0 heading into the bottom of the first, the Gauchos retook the lead 2-1 courtesy of Kuresa's two-run double. The Bulldogs quickly scored on a balk the next inning, tying it up at two. UCSB would then pull out in front during the third inning, batting around and scoring three runs to take a 5-2 lead. However, Mississippi State would respond once again with three runs the next inning to swiftly tie the game after C.T. Bradford's two-run triple and Cody Brown's subsequent sacrifice fly. Nevertheless, during the bottom of the fourth, Nesovic would deliver a two-run single gave the Gauchos a 7-5 lead that they would never relinquish thanks to the stellar effort by the bullpen.
Cameron Cuneo, Connor Baits, Greg Mahle, and Dillon Tate combined for 5.2 innings, allowing only two hits and one unearned run. Cuneo recorded his first win of the season, pitching 1.2 innings and allowing an unearned run. Tate recorded his third save of the season, getting the last out of the eighth inning and delivering a 1-2-3 ninth.
Both starters for the game, UCSB's Shane Bieber and Mississippi State's Trevor Fitts, did not last past the fourth inning and ended up with no decisions. Bieber pitched 3.1 innings and allowed 5 runs, 4 earned with three strikeouts. Fitt pitched 2.1 innings and allowed five runs. Ross Mitchell saved the Bulldogs' bullpen, pitching the remaining 5.2 innings and allowing two runs. However, he was saddled with the loss as those runs gave the Gauchos the lead for good.
Jake Vickerson and Cody Brown led the Bulldogs' offense with two hits apiece.
In the nightcap loss vs. the Wildcats, Kuresa, Newell, and Andrew Calica paced the Gauchos' offense with two hits apiece. Woodward led the team with three times getting on base.
Arizona took a 2-0 lead with a sacrifice fly from Riley Moore and a solo home run from Trent Gilbert going into the fifth inning. UCSB scored three runs to take the lead despite having no hits in the inning. However, the lead was short-lived as Arizona responded with four runs in the bottom half of the frame. After the Wildcats tacked on another run in the seventh, the Gauchos scored two runs in the eighth, cutting the deficit to 7-5 and still had the bases loaded with one out. Epperson sharply hit it up the middle, but Gilbert made a great defensive play at second base, ranging to his right to tag second and then threw to first for the double play. The Wildcats would score three more runs and held on to win 10-5.
Domenic Mazza started for UCSB and took the loss, pitching 4.2 innings and allowing six earned runs. Cody Hamlin earned his third win for Arizona, pitching 7.1 innings and allowing five runs, two earned. Bobby Dalbec pitched 1.2 shutout innings to pick up his first save on the season for the Wildcats.
Kevin Newman and Gilbert contributed the majority of the Arizona offense, each having three of the team's nine hits and totaling seven RBIs. Cody Ramer and Scott Kingery each had a hit and an RBI while combining for five runs at the top of the lineup.
UCSB will once again play tournament host Arizona tomorrow at 12:00 p.m. to cap off the Hi Corbett Classic Tournament. Live video streaming of all tournament games can be found here.