LOS ANGELES – Craig Nitti scored a pair of second-half goals while Sebastien De Rada and Adrien Perez added tallies as well to propel Loyola Marymount to a 4-0 shutout of UC Santa Barbara on Tuesday night in front of a sell-out crowd of 1,321 at Sullivan Field.
It was the final regular season non-conference game of the year for the Gauchos (6-5-2), who end 2014 with a 4-4-1 mark in out-of-league contests. The reigning WCC champion Lions improved to 7-3-3.
Adding insult to injury, sophomore forward Nick DePuy picked up his fifth yellow card of the season, meaning he is ruled out for the team's next contest.
De Rada opened the scoring for LMU in the 9th minute, making a run through the midfield and slipping past the UCSB defense before getting off a shot from within the penalty area that deflected off a Gaucho defender and into the net.
Later in the first half, UCSB head coach Tim Vom Steeg moved DePuy from forward to center back, and the move paid dividends for a while as the Gauchos began to sustain momentum.
That upward trend for the Gauchos came to a swift end when Nitti snuck a free kick just under the crossbar in the 62nd minute. He then picked up a brace with a 68th minute strike. Perez capped the night's scoring with a 75th minute header.
Despite the loss, the Gauchos ended up outshooting the Lions 12-11 on the night.
Still in a three-way tie for first place in the Big West North with a 2-1-1 record, the Gauchos begin intra-division play on Saturday afternoon as they take on UC Davis at 3:00 p.m.