SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team suffered a 9-3 defeat to visiting USC on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, dropping a home game to the Trojans for the first time in the Andrew Checketts era.
The Trojans (14-11) scored in five of six offensive innings in the middle portion of the game and had every starter record at least one hit, building up a five-run lead by the seventh inning stretch. UCSB (11-13-1) received a two-run homer from junior DH Clay Fisher in the bottom of the first, but was held off the scoreboard from then until there were two outs in the bottom of the ninth.
Catcher Blake Sabol was the top offensive performer for USC, going 3-5 including a pair of two-out singles that drove in a combined three runs. Dillon Paulson (1-3) and Matthew Acosta (2-4) each had a pair of RBIs as well.
Six of UCSB's starters recorded hits on the day, including multi-hit days from Fisher, sophomore center fielder Tommy Jew, and freshman Jason Willow who went 2-2 and reached base four times in his first career start at second base.
USC took the lead for good in the third inning with a two-run rally that was started off with three consecutive singles to load the bases with nobody out. The Trojans cashed in two of those runners with well-struck fly balls that went for sac flies, though UCSB right fielder Michael McAdoo prevented further damage with a diving snag of an Acosta liner for the second out of the frame.
Sabol made the Gauchos pay for a two-out error in the fifth, lining a base hit to right field moments later to bring in a pair and stretch USC's lead to 5-2.
USC lefty John Beller, making his first career start, earned the win with six solid innings for the visitors. He held UCSB to just four hits in five innings after Fisher's round-tripper in the first inning.
On the other side, junior right-hander Kevin Chandler had a solid relief performance for the Gauchos, facing the minimum over two shutout innings. The rest of the staff combined to allow five earned runs over seven innings.
The Gauchos conclude a six-weekend homestand with a three-game set against UTRGV starting on Friday afternoon at 3:00 p.m.