A three-run triple by sophomore shortstop Jordan Sprinkle and a three-run homer by Broc Mortensen, a junior from Ventura, powered 10th-ranked UCSB to a 7-4 non-conference win over Pepperdine Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Both teams went deep into their bullpens, the Gauchos employing six pitchers and the Waves eight. The UCSB win avenged a lopsided loss to Pepperdine in April.
The Gauchos scored the game’s first run in the bottom of the second without a hit. Pepperdine reliever Nathan Diamond hit two batters and walked a third, and then hit Gaucho Nick Oakley to force in a run.
Two batters later, Sprinkle rocked a bases-clearing triple to make it a 4-0 game.
Pepperdine cut the lead in half in the fourth on a two-run home run by Connor Bradshaw.
Mortensen gave the Gauchos some breathing room in the seventh with his three-run homer, making the score 7-2. Mortensen, coming in as a pinch-hitter, hit a towering shot to right field for his 10th homer of the year, tying him for the Big West Conference lead.
Those insurance runs proved handy after Pepperdine managed another two-run homer in the top of the eighth, resulting in the 7-4 final score.
Pitcher Ryan Harvey started for UCSB, going two perfect innings with two strikeouts. He gave way in the third to Cooper Rons, who gave up the first Pepperdine homer.
Reliever Nick Welch (3-2) got the win for the Gauchos, pitching the fifth and sixth innings, giving up two hits.
Christian Kirtley and Mason Eng both got two hits for UCSB. The Gauchos outhit the Waves 8-7. The game’s combined 14 pitchers is just one less than the total number of hits, 15.
The win improves UCSB to 31-10 overall. Pepperdine is 19-20. The Gauchos remain 19-2 in Big West play.
The Gauchos play a Big West series this weekend at UC Irvine.