No. 13 UCSB Sweeps Split Doubleheader Behind Nesovic Walk-Off, Dartmouth Rout

Paddy O'Brien (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Paddy O'Brien (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 13 UC Santa Barbara junior utility man Robby Nesovic broke a 1-1 deadlock with a walk-off single while contributing three hitless innings of relief to lead the Gauchos to an 11-inning win over Texas-Arlington on Saturday afternoon before the UCSB offense dialed in to produce 17 runs against Dartmouth in the second-highest scoring game of the Andrew Checketts era to sweep the split doubleheader at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

The pair of wins improved UCSB's record to 16-5 on the year. UTA moved to 11-9 with its loss while struggling Dartmouth dropped to 1-12.

Senior outfielder Scott Quinlan and sophomore catcher Paddy O'Brien were the driving factors in the nightcap blowout, as the former went 4-6 while scoring three times and hitting his first home run of the year, while the latter clubbed his first Division I roundtripper en route to a team-high five RBIs.

Sophomore center fielder Andrew Calica had four hits across the two games, three doubles and one triple. Senior second baseman Woody Woodward also collected four hits on the day before being lifted for a subsitute early in the second game.

The Gauchos will close their weekend ledger with a second contest against Dartmouth at 3:00 p.m. on Sunday. The Big Green and UT-Arlington will play a neutral game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium at 11:00 a.m.

Game One Recap

VIDEO: Watch Robby Nesovic's game-winning single here

After taking the loss in Friday's opener, UCSB was eager to right the ship against the Mavericks, whose five runs were tied for the most scored by a Gauchos opponent on a Friday this season.

Junior lefty Justin Jacome shut down the UTA bats in what turned into a pitcher's duel, as UCSB's starting pitcher allowed just one earned run while scattering eight hits over eight full innings with one walk and seven strikeouts.

He was dealing at the outset of the game, striking out the side in the first. He fooled leadoff man Matt McLean with a breaking ball in the dirt before freezing the next two batters on outside fastballs.

He settled into a groove in the middle innings, retiring nine consecutive Maverick batters between the fifth and seventh.

Despite allowing one earned run or less for the fourth time in his six starts, Jacome didn't receive a decision in the contest as he gave up his one run in the eighth to tie the game at 1-1.

That inning actually could have been much worse for UCSB, but Jacome did a great job of pitching out of a jam as the Mavericks had loaded the bases with nobody out on three straight singles.

Facing that treacherous scenario, Jacome retired three consecutive batters to end the inning with minimal damage. The Mavericks got their one run on a sacrifice line drive out to right field, but then Jacome made a nice play to throw out RJ Williams on a swinging bunt before Brady Cox innocuously grounded out to Woodward to end the threat.

Nesovic turned out to be UCSB's superman in the game, driving in both runs and then closing down the game with three innings of flawless relief.

The La Mesa, Calif. native helped the Gauchos open the scoring in the third inning, driving in Calica with an RBI groundout after the UCSB leadoff hitter had doubled to start the frame. 

He then ended the extra-innings contest with a walk-off single through the right side of the drawn-in infield in the bottom of the 11th. The Gauchos had loaded the bases with a Clay Fisher leadoff single, a UTA fielding error of a Calica sacrifice attempt, and a Cameron Newell intentional walk.

As good as Nesovic was with the bat, he was even better on the mound, facing the minimum over his trio of innings.

Making his 2015 pitching debut, Nesovic announced his presence by striking out the side after taking the ball to open the ninth inning.

The only blotch on his performance was a 10th inning walk, but catcher Campbell Wear helped him out by making a pinpoint throw to second base as UTA shortstop Travis Sibley attempted to get into scoring position by stealing second.

He then recovered to go 1-2-3 in the top of the 11th, bookmarking a Williams strikeout with two easy groundouts.

Game Two Recap

As one might surmise, UCSB received contributions from up and down the lineup en route to a 17-2 win over Dartmouth in the second half of the twinbill.

That is the second-largest run output by the Gauchos in the Checketts era and the most since they scored 18 against Princeton on Mar. 2, 2014. Interestingly, that contest was also part of a doubleheader.

The Gauchos' 25 hits were in fact a record under Checketts, as their previous best was 19 against San Jose State on Feb. 23, 2014. It was the first time UCSB broke to 20-hit plateau since 2010 (Feb. 10 against Westmont).

By the end of day, 13 of the 14 Gauchos to step to the plate – pinch-hitters included – recorded at least one hit.

Despite eventually losing by 15, Dartmouth actually led at one point, scoring one run in the first inning on a Nick Lombardi double. The Big Green had quite the excursion on Saturday, playing at Cal State Northridge in the morning before making the trek up the 101-North to take on UCSB in the afternoon.

The Gauchos seemed to take offense to that Dartmouth run, as they responded by batting around in the both the second and third innings while scoring 10 runs in the process.

Making his first ever start at the Division I level, O'Brien fired the first salvo against the Big Green by launching a three-run shot into the left field netting in the second inning.

The Santa Barbara City College transfer would reach base three more times and drive in two more runs as well as part of his career day.

Fisher and Calica shot run-scoring doubles into left field as part of the third inning rally, with JD Hearn, Nesovic, and Kyle Plantier also pitching in RBI base hits.

Quinlan saved the best for last in his career-best four-hit day, driving an opposite field shot into the trees beyond right field in the eighth inning for his second roundtripper in a Gaucho uniform. The blast scored freshman infielder Austin Bush, who had just previously missed an opposite field homer by mere inches.

Left fielder Cameron Newell added three base hits in the rout.

UCSB starting pitcher Domenic Mazza (2-0) did his job managing the big lead, as he allowed two runs on four hits and one walk while striking out six in six full innings.

After that first inning run, Mazza allowed just two hits in his final five frames – one of which was an infield single.

The Concord, Calif. native has now allowed two earned runs or less in all four of his starts this season.

His counterpart, southpaw Marc Bachman (0-1), was roughed up in the contest, allowing 10 runs in just three innings. In the middle of a stretch that will see them play 9 games in six days, Dartmouth had reliever Jay Graham throw 105 pitches over five innings.