March 16, 2008
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (12-6) unleashed 10 runs on 14 hits in Sunday's 10-1 victory over Southern Utah University (5-9), sweeping the four-game weekend set in convincing fashion. Senior southpaw Chuck Huggins (3-1) threw five innings of no-hit baseball before surrendering the first Thunderbird hit of the ballgame in the sixth inning.
Huggins dealt a beautiful game, going six strong innings, allowing only one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking three. The Redwood City, Calif., native didn't allow a Thunderbird runner past second base until the sixth inning.
The Gaucho offense came alive in the first inning, scoring four runs on two hits. Centerfielder Brian Gump got hit by a pitch, and then stole second base to start the rally. A Chris Fox walk, and an Eric Oliver hit by pitch loaded the bases with no outs. Second baseman Shane Carlson dug in and hit a laser into the left centerfield gap, scoring Gump and Fox to put the Gauchos in front, 2-0. Carlson's first inning double extended the Hart HS product's hitting streak to 18 games. John DeAlba was next up, also reaching first courtesy of a hit by pitch, the third of the inning for Thunderbird starter Dustin Wittwer. Catcher Chris McMurray followed with a two-RBI single down the right field line, scoring Oliver and Carlson, to put the Gauchos ahead, 4-0.
It was all the Gauchos would need, as Huggins and three different Gaucho relievers combined for a five-hitter, allowing a singular run in the top of the sixth.
The Gauchos struck again in the bottom of the second as Fox led off the inning with a solo shot to right center, his third homerun of the season. Carlson collected his second double of the game, and his second in as many innings, plating Oliver to give the Gauchos a 6-0 advantage.
DeAlba's two-out, two-RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning lengthened the Gaucho lead to 8-0.
Cameron Nelson doubled in the sixth for the first Thunderbird hit of the game. A double from Bucky Aona in the following plate appearance scored Nelson to put SUU on the board, 8-1.
A two-run Gaucho seventh was highlighted by an RBI triple from Fox. Robby Cummings scored the first run of the inning as Gump reached on a fielder's choice. Fox then tripled home Gump to give UCSB a nine run lead, 10-1.
Huggins earned his third win of the season, dropping his season ERA to 3.52. The southpaw now owns a 29-to-8 strikeout to walk ratio.
Fox was 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, a stolen base, and two RBI. The DH upped his season average to an impressive .422, collecting his fourth triple and third homerun of the season in the process. Carlson was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif., native has now hit safely in all 18 games to begin the season. Gump was 1-for-4 with a stolen base, two runs scored, and an RBI. The speedy centerfielder is now a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen bases to begin the year.
The Gauchos offense continued its torrid start scoring 43 runs in the four-game series. The Gauchos scored at least 10 runs in three of the four contests, collecting 59 hits along the way. UCSB is now hitting an astronomical .320 combined, having outscored opponents through 18 games, 116-to-75.
The Gauchos resume play on Friday, March 21 as they host Saint Mary's for a four-game series.