UCSB unleashed 10 runs on 14 hits in Sunday’s 10-1 victory over Southern Utah, sweeping the four-game weekend set in convincing fashion. Senior southpaw Chuck Huggins threw five innings of no-hit baseball before surrendering the first Thunderbirds hit.
Huggins (3-1) dealt a beautiful game, going six strong innings for UCSB (12-6), allowing only one run on three hits, while striking out eight and walking three. He didn’t allow a Southern Utah runner past second base until the sixth inning.
The Gauchos offense came alive in the first inning, scoring four runs on two hits. Centerfielder Brian Gump was hit by a pitch, then stole second base to start the rally. Chris Fox walked and Eric Oliver was hit by a pitch to load the bases with no outs. Second baseman Shane Carlson hit a laser into the left centerfield gap, scoring Gump and Fox to put the Gauchos in front, 2-0. Carlson’s double extended his hitting streak to 18 games. John DeAlba was next up, and the former SBCC star reached first courtesy of a hit by pitch, the third of the inning for Thunderbirds starter Dustin Wittwer. Catcher Chris McMurray followed with a two-run single down the right field line, scoring Oliver and Carlson for a 4-0 lead.
That was all the Gauchos would need, as Huggins and three different relievers combined for a five-hitter, allowing a lone run in the top of the sixth.
UCSB struck again in the bottom of the second as Fox led off with a solo shot to right center, his third homer of the season. Carlson collected his second double of the game, and his second in as many innings, scoring Oliver to give the Gauchos a 6-0 lead.
DeAlba’s two-out, two-run double in the bottom of the fourth extended the Gauchos’ lead to 8-0.
Cameron Nelson doubled in the sixth for the first Thunderbirds hit of the game. A double from Bucky Aona in the next at-bat scored Nelson to put Southern Utah (5-9) on the board, 8-1.
A two-run UCSB seventh was highlighted by an RBI triple from Fox. Robby Cummings scored the first run of the inning as Gump reached on a fielder’s choice. Fox then tripled home Gump to give the Gauchos a 10-1 cushion.
Huggins earned his third win of the season, dropping his season ERA to 3.52. He now owns a 29-to-8 strikeout to walk ratio.
Fox was 2-for-3 with two walks, two runs scored, a stolen base and two RBIs. The DH upped his season average to an impressive .422, collecting his fourth triple and third homer in the process. Carlson was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBIs. Gump was 1-for-4 with a stolen base, two runs scored and an RBI. The speedy centerfielder is now a perfect 12-for-12 in stolen bases.
The Gauchos’ offense continued its torrid start, scoring 43 runs in the four-game series. UCSB scored at least 10 runs in three of the four contests, collecting 59 hits along the way. The Gauchos are now hitting an astronomical .320 combined, having outscored opponents 116-75 through 18 games.
Click here for Sunday’s box score and play-by-play.
UCSB resumes play Friday when it hosts St. Mary’s for a four-game series.