Gauchos Come Up Short to BYU in Series Finale, 14-8

Tommy Jew (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Tommy Jew (photo by Eric Isaacs)

PROVO, Utah – UC Santa Barbara scored four runs in the first off starter Kendall Motes, but ultimately couldn't hold on to the lead as BYU responded with a 16-hit assault to pull out a 14-8 win in Saturday's series finale at Miller Field. 

The win clinched the series for the Cougars, who improved to 7-7. The Gauchos meanwhile dipped to 5-10. 

Motes had difficulty locating the strike zone at the start of the game, walking the bases loaded and then gifting UCSB its first run on a wild pitch. The Gauchos went on to make Motes pay for his control issues, with Kenny Corey driving in a pair with a triple and Armani Smith making it 4-0 with a run-scoring base hit through the 5-6 hole. 

UCSB scored another run in the second to push its lead to 5-0, but that turned out to be the high point on the day for the Gauchos. 

BYU began its comeback with a two-run homer from Bronson Larsen in the second, then cut the lead to two with a pair of runs in the fourth. 

The Cougars took the lead for good in the next frame with a six-hit, seven-run rally. Aided by a walk and an error, seven of the first eight BYU batters reached base in that inning, making it 11-6 in the host's favor.

UCSB got runs back later in the game on a Billy Fredrick RBI single and a solo homer from junior catcher Dempsey Grover, but never sustained a rally long enough to threaten BYU's lead. 

Fredrick (2-3), Smith (2-4), and Corey (two RBIs) were UCSB's top offensive performers. Smith now has multiple hits in three of his last four games. 

Redshirt freshman outfielder Tommy Jew led off the third inning with a solo homer to left, his first career roundtripper. 

After two consecutive weekends on the road, UCSB returns to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this Friday for the start of an 11-game homestand, beginning with a three-game set against Stony Brook.