Nesovic's First Career Homer Pays Pepperdine Back in 5-4 Win

Connor Baits (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Connor Baits (Photo by Vince Agapito)

MALIBU, Calif. – Freshman righty Connor Baits struck out six and allowed just three runs in his first collegiate start and freshman designated hitter Robby Nesovic clubbed a two-run homer in the fifth inning to put the Gauchos up for good in a 5-4 win over the Pepperdine Waves on Tuesday afternoon.

Baits also received his first career win after scattering nine hits over his six-plus inning outing. The majority of the damage that the Waves (18-13) were able to incur came in the second inning, when Bryan Langlois and Kolten Yamaguchi led off with back-to-back doubles. Two runs would come across in that inning, while Yamaguchi would contribute agin with an RBI single in the third.

Otherwise, Baits did an effective job in limiting the Pepperdine offense, striking out four over a five batter span at one point. He would make way for lefty Domenic Mazza after allowing a single to lead off the seventh inning. Mazza chipped in another fine relief performance -- his sixth consecutive scoreless appearance, spanning eight full innings – allowing no hits and striking out a pair over his 1 2/3 innings of work.

Meanwhile, the UCSB (17-14) offense made considerably more noise than they did last week, when they mustered just one run against Pepperdine starter Matt Maurer, who was back on the mound on Tuesday afternoon. Eight of the Gauchos' nine starters recorded a hit in the game, highlighted by multi-hit days from Nesovic and Cameron Newell.

After Brandon Trinkwon led off the fifth with a base hit, Nesovic smashed his first career home run on a 3-1 pitch, sending the ball over the left field fence. The round-tripper put the Gauchos up 4-3, a lead they would not relinquish. Newell's 2-5 day extended his hitting streak to 10 games, the longest such streak by a Gaucho this season. After Tuesday's affair, he has also reached base in 13 straight.

First baseman Tyler Kuresa also got in on the action, going 2-5 and getting the Gauchos on the board first with a two-run single in the first inning. UCSB is now 5-1 when scoring in the first inning and 14-4 when putting the first run of the game on the board.

Down 5-3, Pepperdine made it interesting late by loading the bases with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. First baseman Sam Meyer than singled to right field, but the ball was hit too sharply to send home the runner from second, making the score 5-4 with the bases still loaded and one out.

From there, sophomore lefty Greg Mahle settled down, striking out Langlois and then inducing a flyout from James Grandpre to end the game and earn his first save of the season.

Next up, the Gauchos will head south to take on No. 4 Cal State Fullerton, who are unbeaten in Big West Conference play, in a three-game weekend series. Radio broadcasts of each game can be found here or heard locally on AM 1290.