Eric Yang tallied four hits, Cole Mueller hit his first career home run, and Ben Brecht delivered another quality start to lead the No. 7 UC Santa Barbara baseball team to an 8-2 victory over Long Beach State on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
With the win, the Gauchos improved to 38-7 overall, the best record in the country, and move to 13-3 in the Big West. Long Beach State, meanwhile, falls to 11-36 overall and 5-11 in conference play.
Making his 13th start of the year, Brecht (9-1) was solid through 6.1 innings, allowing just two runs on five hits while striking out four and walking three. The Dirtbags got to him in the second inning with three hits and a walk to take the lead, but UCSB came right back with three in the bottom half of the inning to take over the lead for good.
With the bases loaded, Marcos Castanon lined a 400-foot double to dead center to score two, and Mueller followed with a sac fly to make it 3-1 UCSB.
After Long Beach got one back on a home run in the third, the Gauchos plated three more in the fifth to make it a 6-2 ball game. Tevin Mitchell delivered a sac fly in the inning, and with two outs, Thomas Rowan came through with a clutch two-RBI single to balloon the Santa Barbara lead to four.
Mueller punctuated the victory with a solo blast to left center in the sixth inning, the first of his career. With the home run, UCSB now has 12 different players with a home run this season.
Yang capped off the scoring and his 4-for-5 day at the plate with an RBI single in the eighth.
Conner Dand was solid in relief, striking out two in 1.2 hitless innings while Alex Patterson was also strong with a strikeout in his shutout inning of work.
It was another big offensive day for the Gauchos, who racked up 15 hits in the game. Aside from Yang’s big game, Tommy Jew went 3-for-4 with a run while Rowan and Armani Smith both had two hits. Eight different Gauchos tallied at least one hit in the game.
Long Beach State starter Adam Seminaris (3-8) gave up six runs on 11 hits with three strikeouts and one walk in five innings.
UCSB and LBSU will return to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium tomorrow afternoon for the second game of the series, set to begin at 2 p.m.