SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 20 UC Santa Barbara defeated Wichita State 2-1 in Friday afternoon's series opener behind Justin Jacome's pitching gem at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Gauchos improved their record to 12-2 on the season, while the Wichita State Shockers dropped to 10-5 with the loss.
The left-handed Jacome was the driving force behind the victory, pitching one-run ball over 8.1 innings while taking a shutout into the ninth inning. The lefty improved to 3-0 on the season in four starts, lowering his ERA to a microscopic 0.98. It was also his sixth career 100+ pitch game and his eighth straight start allowing two runs or fewer.
Leading the way on offense were Woody Woodward and Andrew Calica, both going 2 for 4 with an RBI. Joey Epperson also collected two hits, continuing his hot start to the season and improving his unbeliveable triple slash line to .500/.580/.661.
Jacome and Shockers' starter A.J. Ladwig mowed through each team's batting lineups until the Gauchos were able to string together three straight one-out singles in the third inning, the last being Woodward's RBI single knocking in Epperson. Both pitchers proceeded to continue their great pitching as the Gauchos clung onto their miniscule 1-0 lead throughout the game.
Eventually, Woodward led off the sixth inning with a swinging bunt single managed to get past the glove of Ladwig. After Woodward proceeded to steal second with one out, Andrew Calica drove him in with a RBI double down the left field line and gave the Gauchos an insurance run that they definitely needed.
UCSB held onto their 2-0 lead going into the top of the ninth, with Jacome going for the complete-game shutout. The Shockers would not go down without a fight, cutting the lead to one run with a one-out solo home run by Casey Gillaspie. Closer Dillon Tate came in to clinch the victory for the Gauchos, getting the final two outs and collecting his fourth save on the season.
Ladwig delivered a quality start for the Shockers, allowing two runs in seven inning, but ended up with the loss and dropped to 1-2. Gillaspie's home run and Tyler Baker's two hits led the way offensively for Wichita State.
The Gauchos and Shockers face off again tomorrow afternoon, with first pitch at 2:00 p.m.