NORTHRIDGE – Nolan Bumstead ripped a 1-1 slider over the left field fence to deliver a three-run walk-off home run in CSUN’s 10-8 rubber match win over UC Santa Barbara at Matador Field on Sunday afternoon.
The roundtripper came off UCSB (12-17, 2-4 Big West) closer Steven Ledesma, who was lights out in his first two innings of work before faltering in the ninth. The SBCC transfer went six-up, six-down with five strikeouts to start the first two frames of his three-inning save attempt, but immediately ran into trouble in the ninth as he loaded the bases with nobody out on a leadoff walk, single, and hit by pitch.
It looked like the Gauchos were going to escape with the win, as Ledesma induced back-to-back popouts to bring CSUN (16-17, 3-3) down to its final out, but Bumstead’s third homer of the year instead handed the home team the game and series win.
“With a fresh bullpen and scoring eight runs, you want to be able to close that game out,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “We just didn’t execute pitches.”
UCSB held the lead or was tied all the way up until Bumstead’s ninth-inning big fly.
Starting with Austin Bush’s first-inning homer to center, the Gauchos were able to plate single runs in each of their first three turns at bat.
After the Matadors tied it with a three-run fourth, UCSB opened an even bigger lead with a sixth-inning rally that produced four runs on four straight hits, capped off by a three-run home run from freshman center fielder Tommy Jew.
Nick Sablock helped CSUN claw back into it with a two-run dinger as part of a three-run sixth, helping set up Bumstead’s late-game heroics, which was the 13th roundtripper hit by the two teams in the series.
Producing eight runs and outhitting the Matadors 12-8, it was a second consecutive solid day for UCSB’s offense. Kenny Corey (3-4, two runs), Colton Burns (2-5), and JJ Muno (2-3) each turned in multi-hit efforts for the Gauchos.
UCSB returns to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium this week for four straight games, starting with a midweek showdown with Nevada on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. The Gauchos host UC Irvine in a three-game Big West series from Thursday through Saturday.