SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – The host USF Dons had five different players with multi-hit efforts, handing the UCSB Gauchos an 8-4 loss on Sunday afternoon at Benedetti Diamond.
UCSB fell to 31-17-1 with the loss in their last non-conference game of the regular season. USF prevented themselves from getting swept and improved to 25-28 with the victory.
Woody Woodward had a big day for the Gauchos offensively, going 3 for 4 with 1 RBI and two runs scored. Joey Epperson continued his strong season with a 2 for 4 performance. Seven of the nine starting position players collected at least one hit. Robby Nesovic's RBI single in the third inning extended his hitting streak to seven games.
The Dons drew first blood in the second inning with RBI singles from Justin McCullough and Dylan Parks to jump out to a 3-0 lead. UCSB would close the gap to 3-2, scoring single runs in the third and fourth innings courtesy of Nesovic's RBI single and Ryan Clark's RBI groundout.
Making his first start on the mound for UCSB, Greg Mahle got through the second and third innings with no runs allowed after having difficulty in the first. However, Mahle had trouble getting through the fourth inning, as five out of the first six batters reached base and the Dons were able to extend their lead to 5-2. Dillon Tate came on in relief of Mahle with the bases loaded and one out to induce a double play groundball and escape further damage.
The Gauchos used back-to-back doubles from Cameron Newell and Woodward in the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 5-3. The Dons would appear to pull away with three insurance runs in the eighth for an 8-3 lead, basically eliminating the chance of a UCSB comeback with one inning left. However, UCSB would not give up in the ninth, scoring a run and loading the bases to bring Nesovic up to the plate as the tying run with two outs. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Houston Hibberd got Nesovic to fly out to center field to record the final out.
Mahle pitched 3.1 innings for the Gauchos and was charged with five earned runs, resulting in him taking the loss and dropping his record to 6-5.
Abe Bobb started on the mound for USF and scattered eight hits over 6.2 innings, allowing three runs, two earned. Bobb earned the win and evened his record to 4-4.
Zack Turner, Brendan Hendricks, and Justin McCullough each had two hits and scored two runs for the Dons. Bradley Zimmer set the table at the top of the lineup, going 2 for 3 with two walks. Dylan Parks contributed a 2 for 3 performance and totaled three RBIs.
The Gauchos will end their regular season with a conference series at UC Davis, kicking off on Thursday. First pitch begins at 2:30 p.m.