Gauchos Ride Wave of Home Runs to Defeat Pepperdine, 9-4

Thomas Rowan (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Thomas Rowan (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The No. 6 UC Santa Barbara baseball team hit four home runs to surge past Pepperdine, 9-4, in the final non-conference game of the season on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Thomas Rowan hit a pair of home runs, his 11th and 12th of the year, to take over the team lead with his third multi-homer game of the season, leading the Gauchos (41-7) to their 10th straight win.

After a solo shot from Rowan put UCSB on the board in the second, McClain O'Connor hit a three-run blast in the third to make it 4-0 Gauchos. Two batters later, Rowan hit his second of the game, this time to right center for a two-run home run, to give UCSB a 6-0 lead on just three hits.

The Waves got two runs back in the fourth on a pair of singles and a triple, but Santa Barbara quickly made it 7-2 after Armani Smith hit a towering home run to left to lead off the sixth.

The Gauchos nearly had their fifth home run of the game as Jason Willow came on as a pinch hitter and lofted one just over the left field fence for an apparent three-run blast in the eighth. After passing pinch runner Mason Marquez while rounding first, Willow was called out and settled for a two-run single on the play.

Seven Gauchos saw time on the mound after Jorge Arellano Jr. (4-1) started and picked up the win after scattering five hits, allowing two runs while striking out two in 3.2 innings. Conner Dand struck out three in his two innings of work while Michael McGreevy (1.1 IP), Trevor Beer (0.1 IP), Liam Steigerwald (1.0 IP), Joshua Candau and Alex Patterson (1.0 IP) also saw action in relief.

O'Connor and Rowan both finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs to lead UCSB on the offensive end.

UCSB will travel to Hawai'i this weekend for its penultimate conference series, beginning on Friday, May 17 at 9:35 p.m. PT.