LAS VEGAS, Nev. – Andrew Martinez and Armani Smith homered and the UC Santa Barbara baseball team used a pair of big innings to roll past the Rebels of UNLV, 13-2 at Earl E. Wilson Stadium on Tuesday night.
The Gauchos (2-1) scored six runs in the third and five to blow it open in the eighth in what has been a potent start to the season for the Santa Barbara offense.
Martinez finished 3-for-4, coming a double shy of a cycle, while scoring three runs and knocking in a pair to lead the Gauchos at the plate. Eric Yang went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI while both Thomas Rowan and Christian Kirtley added a hit, two runs and two RBIs apiece.
Sophomore southpaw Jack Dashwood (1-0) picked up the win in his first start of the season after tossing 88 pitches in 5.0 innings of work, allowing just two earned on five hits while striking out seven.
The Gauchos jumped on UNLV freshman starter Troy Balko from the top of the first inning when a one-out Martinez triple to right was cashed in by a Yang single up the middle.
Dashwood escaped back-to-back jams in the first two innings as the Rebels were able to get runners in scoring position. In the third, a two-RBI triple from Rowan with the bases loaded followed by a three-run homerun from Smith highlighted a six-run inning to give UCSB a 7-0 lead.
UNLV managed to bring its only two runs of the game across in the bottom half of the third with a two-RBI triple of its own.
Martinez added to the Gauchos tally with a solo shot to left in the sixth and Santa Barbara took advantage of an errant Rebel bullpen in the eighth for five more, putting the game out of reach, 13-2. UNLV walked three UCSB hitters, hit two batters, threw two wild pitches and balked in a runner. After three straight free passes to start the inning, Kirtley doubled down the left field line to score two.
Freshmen Michael McGreevy and Grant Newton were dominant for the Gauchos in relief, combining to throw four scoreless innings. McGreevy came in for Dashwood after a hit batter to start the sixth, and proceeded to pitch a one-two-three inning with two strikeouts. McGreevy would finish with four K's in three innings while Newton pitched the ninth and struck out one.
UCSB outhit the Rebels 10-8 and walked nine times while the Gauchos' staff racked up 12 total strikeouts.
Santa Barbara plays one more against UNLV tomorrow, Feb. 20 at 2:00 p.m. before returning for its home-opening series against Hartford this weekend.