UCSB was dealt just its second home loss of the season Saturday, a 16-2 drubbing by UC Davis at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Aggies left fielder Kevin James led the way with four RBIs in a 2-for-6 effort, while starter Brad McAtee shut down the Gauchos, allowing only one earned run in eight innings of work.
With the loss, UCSB’s record stands at 23-10 overall, 6-2 in Big West Conference play. The Gauchos now have a 16-2 home record.
Davis (22-11, 4-1) scored in both the fourth and fifth innings for a 2-0 lead. Gauchos starter Mario Hollands (3-2) worked out of a couple of early jams before surrendering an RBI double to James in the fourth. James dumped a ball into shallow left field, scoring Jake Jefferies from third to give the Aggies a 1-0 lead.
The Aggies tacked on another run in the top of the fifth to go ahead, 2-0. With runners on the corners, Hollands hit Jefferies with a pitch to load the bases with only one out. Davis first baseman Evan Hudson followed with a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Ryan Royster from third. Hollands was able to escape the jam, inducing Ryan Scoma to ground out to second to end the inning.
Davis broke the game open in the sixth, scoring seven times on three hits and two errors. Aggies right fielder Kyle Mihaylo led off the top of the fifth with a monster home run to deep left field, and Davis would not look back. The Gauchos’ pitching staff unraveled, hitting two batters and walking three in the inning. With the bases loaded, Kyle Brown and Zach Samuels were unable to extinguish the rally, as the Aggies increased their lead to 9-0.
The Gauchos finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth, as Steve Cook reached on an error to begin the inning. After Brian Gump flied out to left field, Chris Fox singled to put runners on the corners with one out. Gauchos first baseman Eric Oliver then doubled into the right center field gap. Cook, a junior transfer from SBCC, came around to score on the play, but Fox was gunned down at home plate by Mihaylo. At the end of six, the Aggies were leading, 9-1.
Not content with their eight-run lead, the Aggies continued to pour it on, scoring six more times in the top of the seventh. A two-run double off the bat of Jefferies, scored Ty Kelly and Royster, extending the lead to 11-1. A James two-run single capped the scoring for the Aggies in the seventh. When the dust had settled, Davis held a commanding 15-1 lead.
Both squads scored in the eighth inning, but the Gauchos were unable to mount any significant attack. McAtee was untouchable, allowing only six hits in eight masterful innings of work. He improved to 5-2 on the year, striking out six and walking none. McAtee faced only three over the minimum through six innings of work, using a beautiful slider to paint the outside corner all day long.
Hollands suffered his second loss of the season, pitching 5.1 innings, allowing five earned runs on eight hits, while striking out one and walking three.
Oliver scored both Gauchos runs in a 3-for-4 effort. He hit his ninth double on the season, pushing his RBI total to 25.
Every Aggies starter except second baseman Matt Dempsey had at least one hit. Ty Kelly went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Jefferies went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and three RBIs, and James powered the Aggies in a 2-for-6, four-RBI effort.
Click here for Saturday’s official box score and play-by-play.
The two teams conclude the three-game series at 1 p.m. Sunday. Senior Chuck Huggins (6-1) looks to remain dominant and silence the potent Aggies offense.