March 14, 2009
MORAGA, Calif. - No. 23 UC Santa Barbara beat St. Mary's twice on Saturday at Louis Guisto Field, sweeping the doubleheader of a four-game weekend series. UCSB (11-4) scored 16 runs on the day to end a two-game drought and take a 2-1 series lead against the Gaels (10-6).
Junior Joe Gardner (2-0) started the day off by allowing only one run in eight innings. Gardner struck out three Gaels, giving him a team-high 30 strikeouts. He also leads all Gaucho starters with an ERA of 1.52 through four starts.
After struggling to put runs on the board Tuesday against UCLA and in the first game against St. Mary's on Friday, UCSB scored nine runs in the opener of the double-dip and seven more in the nightcap. The Gauchos had only 11 hits in their two previous games, but were able to tally 11 hits in both games Saturday.
Sophomore right-hander Jesse Meaux (2-0) threw five solid innings in the second game for the win, allowing eight hits over five innings. David Meals earned the save by pitching 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, striking out four Gaels in the process.
St. Mary's starters Scott Schneider and Kyle Barraclough both entered Saturday 2-0, but they both suffered their first loss of the season. Schneider pitched particularly well, striking out eight Gauchos and allowing only one earned run in six innings, but he fell short of matching Gardner's performance.
Shortstop Ryan Cavan continued to hit the ball well by going 4-for-8 on the day with three runs scored. He raised his team-leading batting average to .478.
Senior third baseman Robby Cummings homered in each game. He now leads UCSB with four home runs and 24 RBI in 14 games.
The UCSB offense has relied on big innings this season, including a four-run inning in each game Saturday. SMU's defense compounded matters by committing six errors on the day.
The Gauchos are now 4-0 in their only two scheduled doubleheaders of the season. UCSB took both games on March 7 against Loyola Marymount on the way to a four-game sweep.
Junior Mike Ford will pitch Sunday for UCSB, looking to win his fourth game in as many starts. He has an ERA of 4.34 with 11 strikeouts on the year. The game is set to start at 2 p.m.
The Gauchos return home on Mar. 22 to face UC Riverside in a brief two-game series. Season tickets for the best seats at Caesar Uyesaka are still available by clicking here. Every fan who purchases a ticket will receive a free baseball hat just like the one worn on the field.
Single-game tickets are available by calling (805) 893-UCSB, visiting the Ticket Office located on campus in the Intercollegiate Athletics Office or by logging on to UCSBgauchos.com.