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UCSB Finds High Times in 25-3 Victory

Zuanich's three homers leads Gauchos to bury Westmont.

Sparked by Mike Zuanich‘s three home runs, UCSB‘s offense erupted in a 25-3 waxing of NAIA Division I Westmont on Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos’ onslaught was good for season highs for runs, hits and homers.

UCSB (24-11 overall, 6-3 in Big West Conference play) recorded 25 runs, 29 hits and six home runs, while limiting Westmont (8-27) to three runs on the day. UCSB’s six long balls added to their conference-leading home run total, giving them 39 on the year. Every Gaucho to step to the plate, including two rare at-bats by pitchers, collected at least one hit. UCSB scored in every inning except the second and seventh, en route to its 25th victory on the year.

After senior Michael Martin allowed three early runs (two earned) in the first two innings, the Gauchos pitching staff would silence the Warriors’ bats. Jesse Meaux (1-0) earned the win, pitching four scoreless innings in relief. In addition, Clayton Edwards, Forest Cannon, and Patrick McIntyre all pitched perfect innings in relief.

UCSB countered Westmont’s two-run first by scoring three times in the bottom half. Chris Fox started the rally by singling to first base, and later stealing second base, his 15th of the year. Eric Oliver followed with an RBI double down the right field line, to put the Gauchos on the board, 2-1. Zuanich’s RBI single to left field in the ensuing at-bat, scored Oliver from second to tie the game, 2-2. With two out and one on, Shane Carlson put the Gauchos in front, doubling home Zuanich.

After the Warriors scored a run in the top of the second to tie the game, 3-3, UCSB would do all the hitting the rest of the way.

The Gauchos scored twice in the third, three times in the fourth, twice in the second and six times in the sixth, before breaking through for a nine-run eighth.

Zuanich’s belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the third, his first of the day, to put the Gauchos ahead, 5-3. Coming into the game, he was second in the Big West in home runs, with seven.

Junior center fielder Brian Gump followed freshman right fielder Mark Haddow‘s single with a two-run blast to deep right center.  Gump’s bomb was his third on the season.

The Gauchos’ third home run of the game came in the fifth inning off the bat of third baseman Robby Cummings, whose two-run shot, his second of the season, pushed the Gauchos’ lead to seven, 10-3.

After Oliver singled with one out in the top of the sixth, Zuanich hit his second majestic tater of the day, driving a ball high over the eucalyptus trees beyond the left center field fence. With two outs, the Gauchos rallied for four more runs, highlighted by a two-run double from senior backstop Matt McColgan. At the end of six, UCSB found itself ahead, 16-3.

UCSB scored a season-high nine runs in the eighth, sending 13 batters to the plate in the process. Following Patrick Rose‘s RBI single, Chris McMurray hit a soaring three-run homer over the right center field wall. Zuanich followed with his third home run of the day, high over the right field wall. The back-to-back blasts marked the first time the Gauchos have accomplished the feat since 2006. The historic eighth inning was highlighted by pinch-hit appearances by Gauchos pitchers Anthony Martin and Chuck Huggins. Martin’s two-run double to right center and Huggins’ infield single, marked the first time a Gauchos pitcher has hit this year. At the end of eight, UCSB was up, 25-3.

McIntyre retired the Warriors in the top of the ninth to seal the Gauchos’ victory.

Zuanich had a career day, going 4-for-6 with four runs scored, three home runs and six RBIs. Zuanich’s eighth, ninth and 10th home runs of the season pushed him to an RBI deal totaled to 40. The left fielder is now slugging a ridiculous .598 on the season to go along with 16 extra-base hits and 79 total bases.

Gump went 4-for-7 with two runs scored and three RBIs. McMurray also tallied four RBIs in a 2-for-3 effort. Gunnar Terhune had a stellar day at the plate as well, going 5-for-6 with three runs scored. Oliver went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Carlson, Haddow and McColgan each added two-hit performances.

Click here for Tuesday’s official box score and standings.

The Gauchos look to use their momentum when they host USC at 2 p.m. Friday.

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