Gauchos Edge Pepperdine for Fifth Straight Win

Eric Yang (left) hit his first career homerun to help UCSB past Pepperdine 3-2 on Friday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Eric Yang (left) hit his first career homerun to help UCSB past Pepperdine 3-2 on Friday afternoon. (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Junior catcher Eric Yang hit a two-run homerun in the sixth inning and freshman Christian Kirtley came through with a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the eighth to give the UC Santa Barbara baseball team a 3-2 win over Pepperdine on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

With the win, UCSB (7-2) has now won five straight games, including back-to-back one run games, while the Waves (3-5) drop their fifth straight.

After a high octane, offensive showcase through the first seven games of the season, the Gauchos have eked out back-to-back one-run pitcher's duels. UCSB starter Ben Brecht was in control on the bump, striking out nine in his 6.1 innings of work, while scattering five hits and allowing two earned with no walks.

Scoreless heading into the third, the Waves were able to cash in a leadoff double with two outs for the first run of the game.

Cooper Chandler was effective for Pepperdine, holding Santa Barbara scoreless into the sixth before Yang flipped the script in a hurry. After an Andrew Martinez walk, Yang sent the first pitch he saw over the left field wall to put UCSB ahead 2-1 on the first homerun of his career.

The lead was short lived, however, as the Waves hit another leadoff double in the seventh and brought the tying run home on a single through the right side.

Tied 2-2 in the bottom of the eighth, Martinez, Yang and Thomas Rowan drew consecutive walks to load the bases, and Kirtley hit one deep enough to left for the go-ahead, and eventual game-winning sac fly.

Michael McGreevy (2-0) relieved Brecht with 1.2 innings of work, striking out two and picking up the win, while Chris Lincoln came on and tallied his third save of the young season.

Yang finished 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run, Martinez scored twice, and Tevin Mitchell finished with the only other hit on the day for UCSB.

The Gauchos will continue the three game series against the Waves on Saturday in Malibu at 2:00 p.m., weather permitting. Stay tuned to @UCSB_Baseball on Twitter for the latest game updates.