March 15, 2014

UCSB Suffers Rough 16-5 Loss to Wichita State

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Second baseman Dayne Parker and third baseman Chase Simpson drove in four runs apiece to lead Wichita State to a lopsided 16-5 win over No. 20 UC Santa Barbara in the middle contest of a three-game series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

UCSB senior third baseman Joey Epperson, who entered the series tied for the top batting average in the NCAA, went 1-3 on the day and extended his hitting streak to 21 games. His sole hit came on a third inning single that bounced through the left side.

UCSB's loss, just its second in the past 13 games, moved the team to 12-3 on the year, while the Shockers improved to 11-5.

Parker led the WSU offense with a 4-6 line, but he was far from alone in finding offensive success. Every Shockers starter except left fielder Joe Haddox had at least one hit, and Haddox worked three walks and scored a pair of runs.

The Shockers scored most of their runs in spurts, starting with a three-run third. They broke open the game and knocked out UCSB starter Robby Nesovic with a seven-run seventh, and then cemented the outcome with a five-run eighth.

After the Gauchos got two outs in the fifth, WSU chained together four singles and a walk to score a pair of runs and send Nesovic to the showers. Simpson capped off the rally with a three-run homer into the trees beyond the right field fence.

Tyler Kuresa's leadoff double to start the seventh gave the Gauchos a bit of life. The big first baseman would come around to score on a Cameron Newell RBI chopper to first base, before Billy Fredrick knocked in Andrew Calica with a single for his second RBI hit in just his second career at bat.

Leading 10-2, Wichita State put the game out of reach the next half-inning with a five run outburst, highlighted by another three run homer, this one off the bat of catcher Tyler Baker.

Coming on for Epperson in the eighth inning, sophomore infielder Ryan Clark went 2-2 on the day, including a double and RBI single.

Though the Shockers' offense jumped out at you, starter Cale Elam was just as effective on the hill, allowing just two runs and four hits over seven innings. Elam moved to 3-0 on the season.

Nesovic, the UCSB starter, was effective at the beginning of a game that had the looks of another pitchers duel following Friday's 2-1 tilt. He retired the first seven batters he faced before faltering in the middle innings. He received the loss after allowing three earned runs in 4.2 innings pitched, dropping his personal record to 1-1.

The Gauchos and Shockers will play a rubber match at 1:00 p.m. Sunday afternoon to decide the winner of the series. Sophomore lefty Domenic Mazza (1-1, 6.75 ERA) will toe the rubber for UCSB opposite Sam Tewes (3-1, 2.70).