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UCSB Pounds Out 9-3 Win over Northridge

Gauchos continue offensive assault as freshman pitcher gets first victory of career.

UCSB continued its offensive assault Wednesday, racking up 16 hits in a 9-3 win at Cal State Northridge. Backed by a sterling effort from freshman right hander Greg Davis, the Gauchos scored four runs in both the third and fifth innings, tacking on an insurance run in the eighth to secure the victory.

Davis, making the first start of his UCSB career, went six strong innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out six and walking only one. His victory marked the second time this season a freshman starter has won his first career outing, the first coming Feb. 23, when Mario Hollands won his debut against Marist.

Northridge (5-3) struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Matadors second baseman Ryan Pineda doubled to center field and was driven in on the next at-bat by a Richard Cates single up the middle. It would be Northridge’s only lead of the game as Davis settled down, striking out at least one Matador in each of the next five innings.

UCSB (7-3) got things going in the top of the third, scoring four runs on five hits and two errors. Shortstop Matt Valaika led off with a single through the left side, the first of his four hits on the day. Chris McMurray followed with an RBI double to right center, scoring Valaika for the first Gauchos run. Third baseman Robby Cummings, making his first start of the season, deposited a Ryan Juarez fastball over the right field wall, to give the Gauchos a 3-1 lead. With two outs, Brian Gump singled and stole second. Gump would score the final run of the fourth on a throwing error by Matadors first baseman Chris Hannick, giving the Gauchos a 4-1 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.

Juarez would last only four innings, allowing four runs — three earned — on six hits, striking out none and walking two.

The Gauchos’ unrelenting attack continued as another four runs crossed the plate in the top of the fifth. Chris Fox singled to get things started, advancing to second on a throwing error by Matadors reliever P.J. Rousey. Eric Oliver singled and Mike Zuanich followed with a single of his own, scoring Fox from third base. With two out and runners on second and third, second baseman Shane Carlson continued his spectacular start, doubling down the right field line to score Oliver and Zuanich. Valaika singled home Carlson on the ensuing at-bat, giving the Gauchos an 8-1 lead.

A sacrifice fly from DH Drew Muren in the sixth scored Cates to cut the Gauchos lead to 8-2.

Continuing his career day, however, Valaika led off the top of the eighth with a home run to deep left field, his fourth hit and second RBI on the day.

The Matadors countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the eighth, but Gauchos reliever Clayton Edwards came on in the ninth to induce a game-ending double play to seal the win.

Six Gauchos had at least two hits, led by Valaika, who went a career-high 4-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs on the day. Cummings was 2-for-4 with a home run, a run scored and two RBIs. McMurray was 2-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI.

For Northridge, Pineda was 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Cates went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBIs.

The Gauchos tied a season-high with 16 hits in the game, the first time coming Feb. 23 in a 13-4 drubbing of Marist.

The Gauchos will play a three-game weekend series at Houston, beginning Friday.

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