No. 19 UCSB Baseball (23-8, 12-2) hit the field ready to claim its fifth straight game win as well as its fifth straight series win and did just that, downing visiting UC San Diego (12-21, 4-7) 10-5.
Mike Gutierrez earned the start and despite allowing several Tritons aboard, managed to escape with just an unearned run scored in his 4.1 innings of work. Nick Welch (2-1) was the pitcher of the record tossing four full innings with eight strikeouts. He was unscored upon until the top of the ninth when he allowed a trio of runs.
Broc Mortensen stayed hot in the series, going 2-for-4 with four RBI.
Christian Kirtley and Nick Vogt each collected RBI doubles as Vogt went 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs and two RBI. Bryce Willits went 2-for-4 with a double and two runs.
Kirtley has now reached base safely in 19 straight games, Willits has in 17 and Johnson has in 13. Willits also extended his hit streak to 10 games.
The Gauchos as a team scored 10 runs on 10 hits.
For the second-straight game, the Tritons took the lead first with an RBI sac-fly in the top of the second.
The Gauchos were brought to life in the fourth. An error by UCSD put Kirtley on base, followed by a walk for Kyle Johnson. Nick Vogt continued the momentum with a line-drive double, bringing in Christian Kirtley and advancing Johnson to third. With two players on and only one out, Broc Mortensen stepped up to the plate determined to bring more of his teammates home. His single up the middle scored runs by Vogt and Johnson, putting UCSB up 3-1.
The Gauchos showed no mercy with a six-spot in the bottom of the fifth. A walk by Jordan Sprinkle ignited a rally. A walk by Klassen put the two runners on base with no outs and Willits was determined to join his teammates, singling out to left. UCSD evidently felt the pressure, switching pitchers in hopes of relief, but its efforts proved ineffective with a bases-loaded walk by Christian Kirtley bringing Sprinkle home. With only one out, UCSB continued to get their steps in with another walk by Vogt to bring in Klassen. Even more runs ensued as a two-RBI single by Broc Mortensen, an RBI single by John Newman Jr. and an RBI sac-fly by Nick Oakley made it a 9-1 ball game.
In the top of the sixth came a Top-Ten play by Vogt, who layed out for a catch in center field and fired all the way to first for an incredible double play.
The final Gaucho run scored in the sixth as Kirtley doubled down the left line to score Willits and make it 10-1.
UCSD continued to fight with a run in the seventh and three more in the ninth but the game would conclude in UCSB’s favor 10-5.
The Gauchos will look for their second straight Big West sweep, taking on UCSD in game three tomorrow at 1 PM.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.