A mixture of great pitching and long balls lifted No. 27 UC Santa Barbara to a 4-1 series-opening win over Cal Poly on Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Michael McGreevy flirted with the all-time strikeout record, fanning a career-high 15 Mustangs, and four different Gauchos notched solo home runs.
UCSB now boasts a 27-12 overall record with an 18-7 Big West mark, while Cal Poly falls to 19-8 and 9-12.
McGreevy (6-1) tossed eight innings and picked up his sixth win of the season. The sophomore allowed a season-low two hits and no walks in what was a tight pitcher’s duel until the later innings. After giving up a solo home run in the top of the second, only one more baserunner would reach for the rest of the evening.
Coming in for the save in the ninth was UCSB’s hottest bullpen arm, Carter Benbrook, who retired the final three batters to earn his team-best third save of the season.
All five runs scored came by way of the solo home run with Samuelson giving the Mustangs the early lead in the second inning.
It wasn’t until the fifth that UCSB cracked the scoreboard as Bryce Willits went yard for just the second time this season to even things at 1-1. The go-ahead and game-winning homer came off of the hot bat of Christian Kirtley in the seventh. He has now hit three bombs in the last two games.
In the eighth inning, Jordan Sprinkle and Cole Cummings cranked back-to-back home runs to give UCSB a 4-1 lead. They are the first Gauchos to notch back-to-back homers since Dempsey Grover and Colton Burns in 2017.
The Gauchos will look for the series win in Saturday’s doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.