Cal Poly (3-5) scored single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-1 lead. The cushion wouldn’t last long, however, as Fox led off the third for the Gauchos and parked a 1-2 offering from Mustangs starter D.J. Mauldin into deep right field for his second homer of the season. The solo shot tied the game, 2-2.
Both teams burst out in the fourth, scoring nine total runs. The Mustangs scored three runs on four hits in their half of the fourth. Right fielder D.J. Gentile singled to lead off the inning. J.J. Thompson followed with a single of his own, advancing Gentile to third. Leadoff hitter Luke Yoder then tripled to deep right centerfield, scoring both runners. Yoder scampered home on the play on a throwing error by Gauchos second baseman Gunnar Terhune. Freshman Jesse Meaux, making the first start of his career, was bounced from the game after hitting Pat Pezet with a pitch, and allowing a Logan Schafer base hit. Redshirt freshman Forest Cannon came on in relief and retired two straight Mustangs to extinguish the rally.
Meaux pitched 3.1 innings, allowing five runs on 11 hits.
UCSB answered the rally by scoring six runs in the bottom half of the fourth. Junior John DeAlba, led off the inning with a solo homer un to right center, the former SBCC star’s first as a Gaucho. Back-to-back singles from Brian Gump and Chris McMurray brought Patrick Rose to the plate. Rose delivered an infield single, scoring Gump to make the score 5-3. With runners on the corners, Terhune laid a bunt down the first baseline. Thompson fielded the ball and threw home in attempt to get the streaking McMurray, but the throw was late as McMurray slid under Wes Dorrell’s tag. Grant Theophilus inherited two runners with one out in relief of Mauldin, who tallied 3.1 innings, allowing seven runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking none.
With runners on the corners and two down, Gauchos first baseman Eric Oliver hit a monster three-run home run high over the left field scoreboard to give the Gauchos an 8-5 lead. The blast was Oliver’s first as a Gaucho.
Shortstop Shane Carlson added a home run of his own in the fifth to put the Gauchos ahead, 9-5. UCSB entered the game having hit four home runs in eight games.
Cal Poly clawed back for one run in the sixth and two in the seventh to come within one run of tying the game, 9-8. Schafer’s RBI sacrifice fly in the seventh and two Brent Morel RBI singles highlighted the attack.
The Gauchos added an insurance run in the eighth inning. Fox drew a walk with one out, advanced to second on a balk and proceeded to steal third base, his fourth of the season. He alertly darted home after Mustangs reliever Kevin Castner’s pitch bounced to the backstop. Fox scored the Gauchos’ 10th run of the day without being advanced by a walk or a hit.
Senior southpaw Kyle Brown who came on in relief in the seventh and induced Schafer to ground out to first to end the game. Brown threw 2.2 innings of scoreless relief, earning his first save on the year.
Oliver was 2-for-5 with one run scored and three RBIs on the day. Fox was 1-for-4 with a walk, an RBI, one stolen base, and three runs scored. Seven of the Gauchos starters recorded at least one RBI, while eight collected at least one hit. UCSB is now hitting an impressive .298 as a team and has scored 62 runs in nine games.
For Cal Poly, Yoder tallied an impressive four hits in five at-bats, scoring four runs and driving in two. Morel was 3-for-4 with two RBIs. The Mustangs managed only eight runs on 15 hits, stranding 13 runners on base.