MALIBU — JD Callahan pitched six-plus innings for the first time since 2021, and Broc Mortensen hit his eighth home run of the season for UCSB, but the Gauchos fell to Pepperdine in 10 innings on Tuesday.

 A walk-off, two-run home run decided the game in the hosts’ favor, 4-2, splitting the season series for the second year in a row.

The first two innings were great for UCSB, with Callahan setting down the Waves in order, including a pair of first-inning strikeouts. In the top of the second, Mortensen got the Gauchos on the board with a solo home run to center.

Momentum swung the way of Pepperdine in the third and fourth frames, as the Waves recorded four of their five hits off Callahan in those two innings. Malibu led off the bottom of the third with a home run to tie the game, then did the same in the bottom of the fourth to take the lead.

But Callahan responded after both homers, stranding runners in both innings to keep the Gauchos within one. He set down the side in order again in the fifth, finishing the inning with a pair of punchouts, then UCSB’s offense leveled the game in the top of the sixth. 

With Zander Darby on first and two outs, Jared Sundstrom popped a ball up to shallow center — one of the only places in the ballpark where neither the infielders nor the outfielders could reach it before it hit the grass. Darby never stopped running, rounding third and coming home at the same time as the throw. He and the catcher collided, the ball came loose, and the game was tied.

After a scoreless seventh inning, Pepperdine had a chance to take the lead on an identical play in the bottom of the eighth. With a runner on first and two outs, a pop-up landed just in front of the diving Mortensen. Jonah Sebring picked up the loose ball and fired home, beating the runner with enough time for John Newman, Jr. to collect it and apply the tag to keep the game tied.

A two-out Mortensen double in the ninth inning was the Gauchos’ best chance to un-tie the game, and they had to work to keep the Waves from ending the game in the ninth. 

After a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and an intentional walk, Sam Whiting had to strand the deciding run in scoring position, and needed two outs to do it. He got a pair of strikeouts, with the second coming after a prolonged at-bat. 

But there would be nobody left stranded in the 10th. A one-out fly ball to center just barely cleared the wall to end the game.

The loss is the second in a row for the Gauchos, now 22-12. Pepperdine is 14-20.

With his second-inning home run, Broc Mortensen now has 39 in his Gaucho career, the third-most in program history. He is now three away from tying UCSB’s career home run record (42), set by Matt Wilkerson from 2002-2005

The Gauchos will play the final three games of this four-game road trip next, as they head to La Jolla for a weekend series against UC San Diego. First-pitch times from Triton Ballpark are set for 6 p.m. Friday, 2 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday.