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Gauchos Bring Out Bats in 12-2 Rout of Pacific

16-hit cushion gives Huggins more than enough support for UCSB's series win.

Offense powered UCSB to a 12-2 pounding of Pacific on Sunday in Stockton. The Gauchos racked up 12 runs on 16 hits as senior starting pitcher Chuck Huggins (6-1) tamed the Tigers, allowing only two runs in seven innings of work.

The Gauchos (21-9 overall, 5-1 in Big West Conference play) scored a run in the first inning to take an early lead that they would never relinquish. Following a pair of singles from Chris Fox and Eric Oliver, left fielder Mike Zuanich singled through the left side, scoring Fox for the first run. The Gauchos’ first-inning run gives them 33 on the year, second only to the fourth inning in which they have scored 35 runs.

After the Tigers (6-22, 1-5) got on the board with a run in the bottom of the third, the Gauchos countered with a run in the top half of the fourth. Steve Cook, a junior transfer from SBCC, executed a beautiful sacrifice bunt to score Chris McMurray from third, giving the Gauchos a 2-1 advantage.

UCSB scored a pair of runs in the fifth as the Gauchos ran Pacific starter Joey Centanni from the game. Shane Carlson grounded into a fielder’s choice to score Fox for the third run of the game. McMurray stepped to the plate and hit an RBI sacrifice fly to put the Gauchos in front, 4-1.

Huggins was on cruise control throughout, allowing only two runs on three hits. He struck out five while walking only one en route to his sixth win on the year. Huggins lowered his season ERA to 3.38, while improving his strikeout-to-walk ratio to 49-to-13.

UCSB piled it on in the final three frames, scoring three runs in the seventh, four in the eighth, and one in the ninth, respectively.

The three-run seventh started with Oliver’s single through the left side. After Zuanich walked, Carlson doubled to left field, scoring Oliver from third. McMurray then hit his second sacrifice-fly RBI of the game to put the Gauchos ahead, 6-1. Patrick Rose followed with an RBI single of his own, extending the Gauchos’ cushion to six.

UCSB added to the lead in the eighth when Carlson slashed a two-RBI single into left field. With two out and a runner on, McMurray belted a two-run home run to deep center field, extending the lead to 11-2.

After the Gauchos scored a run in the top half of the ninth, Jason Roenicke pitched a perfect ninth to give them their fifth Big West win of the year.

Five Gauchos had multihit games, led by Oliver and Rose, who each had three a piece. Oliver went 3-for-4 with three runs scored, while Rose went 3-for-5 with an RBI. Carlson and McMurray provided the power with four RBIs each. Carlson went 2-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBIs, while McMurray went 2-for-3 with two runs scored and four RBIs, as well.

UCSB went 3-2 on the week, splitting a pair against No. 11 Pepperdine, and taking two of three from conference foe Pacific.

Click here for Sunday’s box score and play-by-play.

The Gauchos travel to Cal State Northridge for a game at 3 p.m. Tuesday.

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