LOS ANGELES — The No. 13 UCSB baseball team (27-10) continued its Tuesday night struggles down in Los Angeles, falling to USC 13-7.
Christian Kirtley (24) and Bryce Willits (22), and John Newman Jr. (14) all extended their reached-base safely streaks as Kirtley and Willits collected singles and Newman Jr. was hit by a pitch in the early innings.
Kirtley went 3-for-4 with a home run, two singles and a pair of runs. Nick Vogt added two RBI and Jason Willow was great in his return from injury, going 2-for-3 with a run and an RBI.
Kirtley’s homer was the sole extra-base hit of the night for the Gauchos compared to eight on the Trojan’s side.
UCSB was nearly the first to score as the Gauchos brought a runner to third in the top of the second, but the host Trojans got out of the jam and added a run of their own in the bottom half to take a 1-0 lead.
With two outs and runners on the corners in the fourth, the Gauchos got on the board with some clever baserunning.
With two strikes on Mortensen, Newman Jr. booked it to second and as soon as the throw was made, Kirtley trotted in from third on the double steal to tie the game. UCSB took the lead just a few at-bats later as Willow slapped a single through infield to score Mason Eng from second. The two-rally continued with Broc Mortensen scoring on a wild pitch and Vogt driving in a pair on a single to make it a 5-1 game.
The lead held for all of one out as USC put up an eight-spot of its own in the bottom half to regain the lead at 9-5. The Trojans collected six hits, a walk and three home runs in the inning.
The Gauchos got one back in the top of the fifth with Kirtley crushing his seventh home run of the season. It was a lead-off bomb to left that cut the Trojan lead to 9-6.
Four more USC runs scored in the bottom of the fifth to make it a 13-6 game.
Using four straight pinch-hitters, the Gauchos managed to score one final run as Jessada Brown notched his first collegiate hit — an RBI double to score LeTrey McCollum.
The road trip continues this weekend for the Gauchos as UCSB heads north to face rival Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in an important Big West series between the conference’s top-two teams.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.