No. 14 UCSB Rides Big Second Inning to Midweek Win at Pepperdine

Armani Smith (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Armani Smith (Photo by Tony Mastres)

MALIBU, Calif. – Armani Smith sparked a five-run second inning with his eighth home run of the season and the No. 14 UC Santa Barbara baseball team cruised to an 8-2 victory on the road at Pepperdine on Tuesday afternoon at Eddy D. Field Stadium.

In the third meeting between these two teams this season, the Gauchos (24-5) improved to 3-0 against the Waves (16-12) and won their sixth straight in the process.

Jorge Arellano Jr. (2-1) picked up the win in his second straight midweek start after tossing five shutout innings, allowing just four hits, walking one and striking out three on 79 pitches.

Smith opened up the scoring with a solo shot over the left field fence, tying teammate Tommy Jew for team-high honors with his eighth of the season. After a Jason Willow double and a pair of walks loaded the bases, Eric Yang was hit by a pitch to bring another run around. Jew followed with a bases clearing single to the left center gap, and just like that UCSB took a 5-0 lead.

Pepperdine got one back on a Billy Cook solo jack in the sixth, but the Gauchos brought three straight runs home on sacrifice flies in the seventh and eighth to extend its lead to 8-1. Andrew Martinez, Willow and Jew all hit sac flys to add three more for the nation's leader in sacrifice flies.

The Waves added a sac fly of their own in the ninth to bring the final to 8-2.

After Arellano's five innings, the Gauchos had relief appearances from Alex Patterson (1.0 IP), Conner Dand (1.1 IP), Joshua Candau, Kevin Chandler (0.2 IP) and Shea Barry (1.0 IP), who combined to allow just two runs on five hits with three strikeouts. 

Offensively, Tevin Mitchell and Armani Smith both went 2-for-4 with a run while Smith added an RBI after his solo shot. Jew finished 1-for-3 with a game-high four RBIs. Eight of the nine starters scored one run apiece while seven different Gauchos drew a walk in the game.

UCSB returns to Big West competition this weekend at Caesar Uyeska Stadium with a three-game series against No. 16 UC Irvine, beginning Friday, Apr. 12 at 3:00 p.m.