With four RBIs and a 2-for-5 performance, Chris Fox powered UCSB to a 6-5 win at Cal State Northridge on Tuesday. The Gauchos’ 13-hit effort marked the 18th time in 31 games that they have recorded 10 or more hits.
With the nonconference victory, the Gauchos improved to 22-9 overall and 5-1 in Big West Conference play. Northridge fell to 13-14 and 3-3. UCSB is 5-0 against the Matadors this year.
Junior center fielder Brian Gump got the first inning started with a single to right field, and advanced to third on a Matadors throwing error after stealing second base. Fox followed with an RBI groundout, scoring Gump for the first Gauchos run. Eric Oliver and Mike Zuanich followed with consecutive singles, bringing shortstop Shane Carlson to the plate. Carlson ripped a single to center field, scoring Oliver from third to make the score 2-0.
The Gauchos rallied again in the top of the fourth as freshman right fielder Mark Haddow started things off with a single to right. Gunnar Terhune followed with a single of his own. Haddow would score and Terhune would reach third, after a botched throw on a double-steal attempt from Matadors catcher John Parham. Gump loaded the bases after reaching on a fielder’s choice. Fox calmly laced a two-run double down the right-field line, scoring Gump and Terhune for a 5-0 lead.
Northridge wouldn’t give in, scoring four times on five hits in the bottom of the fifth. T.S. Reed’s RBI single scored C.J. Belanger for the first Matadors run of the game. Left fielder Richard Cates followed with a two-run single, bringing the Matadors within two, 5-3. Northridge wasn’t done as pinch hitter Chris Hannick singled up the middle, scoring Parham to make the score 5-4.
UCSB countered with an insurance run in the sixth, as Gump hit his second triple of the year to left center. Fox delivered his fourth RBI of the game when he singled through the right side, extending the lead to 6-4.
The Gauchos bullpen secured the win, as five different relievers combined to allow a single run in 4.1 innings of relief. Jason Roenicke slammed the door, pitching his second consecutive perfect ninth. Kyle Brown (3-0) earned the win, pitching two-thirds of an inning.
Matadors starter Eric Billings (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs on four hits, in only 1.2 innings of work.
Fox paved the way, going 2-for-5 with four RBIs. Gump went 2-for-4 with three runs scored. Carlson added a trio of hits in a 3-for-5, one-RBI effort.
Click here for Tuesday’s box score and play-by-play.
UCSB hosts Big West foe UC Davis in a three-game weekend series that begins at 2 p.m. Friday.