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Gauchos On Losing End of Grand Slam This Time

Pepperdine's six-run, ninth-inning rally buries UCSB, 7-3.

Another game, another ninth-inning grand slam. This time, however, UCSB was on the losing end.

Three days after winning a thriller against Cal Poly with a ninth-inning grand slam of their own, the Gauchos were dealt their 14th loss of the season in an eerily similar fashion Tuesday. After Pepperdine (27-13) tied the game, 3-3, with a two-run double in the top of the ninth, Waves center fielder Eric Thames launched his 13th home run of the year. The grand slam high over the center field wall of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium capped a six-run inning that gave Pepperdine a 7-3 victory.

UCSB (29-14) entered the final frame with a 3-1 lead, but was unable to close things out. A stellar seven-inning, one-run effort from starter Michael Martin, followed by a scoreless eighth from reliever Kyle Brown, put UCSB in perfect position to win its third game in a row.

Zach Samuels was summoned to pitch the ninth, but retired only one Wave he faced, allowing a game-tying two-run double to pinch hitter Nate Simon. With one out and a runner on, junior transfer Patrick McIntyre was called upon to quell the Waves rally and maintain the tie heading into the bottom of the ninth. McIntyre allowed a single and then walked the next batter he faced, before surrendering the crippling blow to Thames.

The Gauchos were first on the board, scoring a run in the bottom of the first on Eric Oliver’s third home run of the year. Pepperdine was quick to tie things up, scoring a run in the top of the second on Donald Brown’s RBI single up the middle.

The score would remain 1-1 until the bottom of the seventh. With runners on second and third with two outs, Chris Fox dumped a ball into shallow right field, past the outstretched arm of Waves second baseman Denny Duron. Fox’s two-run single scored Gunnar Terhune and Steve Cook, a junior transfer from SBCC, to give the Gauchos a 3-1 lead.

After a perfect eighth from Brown, the Gauchos were unable to seal the deal, as the Waves collected six runs on five hits in their final at-bat.

Pepperdine reliever Nick Gaudi retired the side in order in the bottom of the ninth to secure the come-from-behind win for the Waves.

Martin allowed one run on eight hits in seven innings of work, striking out five and walking only one in the no-decision.

Tyler Hess (2-0) earned the win for Pepperdine, pitching a 1.1 innings of scoreless relief.

Fox led the way offensively for the Gauchos, going 2-for-4 with two RBIs. Oliver provided the only other UCSB run with his first-inning solo shot.

Click here for the official box score and play-by-play.

UCSB resumes play at 2 p.m. Friday against Big West Conference rival Cal State Fullerton. Mike Ford (5-3) mans the bump for the Gauchos and will be opposed by Titans right-hander Jeff Kaplan. The crucial three-game weekend series pits first-place Fullerton (11-4 in Big West play) against second-place UCSB (8-4 in conference).

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