SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team wrapped up the series sweep in a big way on Sunday afternoon, scoring in all but two innings while racking up 18 hits in a 14-0 rout over Hartford at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Gauchos (5-2) had 10 different players record a hit in the game with six tallying multi-hit games, led by Eric Yang (3-for-4) and Armani Smith (3-for-5), who both finished with two RBIs apiece. Jason Willow led the team with three RBIs on a 2-for-5 day at the dish while both Kyle Johnson and Tevin Mitchell went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs. Kirtley scored a game-high three runs after going 2-for-4 with a walk and Andrew Martinez went 1-for-3 with two runs and an RBI.
On the mound, UCSB turned to sophomore Christopher Troye, who was dominant in his first career start. The Brentwood, Calif. native who made 19 appearances as a reliever last season, struck out seven while allowing just one hit and one walk while picking up his first win of the season.
It was a strong first inning all around for the Gauchos. After starting pitcher Troye (1-0) struck out the side in the top half of the inning, Tommy Jew hit a leadoff homerun deep over the scoreboard in left. Yang doubled later in the inning and Smith singled him home to give UCSB an early 2-0 lead.
Johnson kept the bats alive in the second, leading off the frame with a solo shot to right to make it 3-0, and Troye stayed dominant on the bump with two more strikeouts in the third.
In the bottom half of the third, Santa Barbara broke the game open for good with five runs on six hits to take an 8-0 lead. The Gauchos had five straight hits to start the inning, beginning with singles from Kirtley and Smith. Willow and Johnson promptly followed with back-to-back RBI singles before Mitchell cleared the bases with a two-run triple to the deepest part of the field in right center. Yang capped of the scoring in the inning with his second double of the game to bring home Mitchell.
Troye carried a no-hitter into the fifth before the Hawks finally connected for a base hit, but the sophomore right-hander struck out two of the next three to keep the shutout intact.
The Gauchos went right back to scoring runs in the fifth, tacking on two more courtesy an RBI double off the wall from Martinez and an RBI single from Yang, who stayed hot with this third hit of the day.
Alex Patterson relieved Troye in the sixth and, after allowing a leadoff double, struck out two of the next three to escape the inning.
With two runners on in the bottom half of the sixth for UCSB, pinch hitter Cole Mueller drove in Kirtley, making it an 11-0 advantage for Santa Barbara.
The Gauchos added three more on a two-RBI double from Willow and an RBI fielder's choice with the bases juiced from Smith, to cap of the scoring for the day.
Worth mentioning, the Gauchos were hit by a pitch five times on Sunday and 13 times in the three-game series.
Santa Barbara hits the road for a midweek matchup against USC this Tuesday, Feb. 26 at 6:00 p.m. at Dedeaux Field.