MALIBU — The No. 21 UCSB baseball team (18-8) dropped its first game to a WCC opponent Tuesday night as Pepperdine (16-11) earned the win at home 9-1.
The two teams will meet again at Caesar Uyesaka on May 3.
On Tuesday, the Gauchos’ Blake Klassen was fantastic in his return to the lineup, going 3-for-4 with an RBI.
Kyle Johnson continued his hot streak, going 2-for-2 with two doubles and a run.
John Newman Jr. reached the bases three times in three different ways, going 1-for-1 with a double, a walk and an HBP.
The Gauchos got baserunners aboard in seven of nine innings but were caught stealing, caught trying to extend a single into a double and left seven runners stranded.
JD Callahan (1-2) earned the start and allowed just two earned in four innings of work but would become the pitcher of credit, taking his second straight loss. He struck out five but walked just as many.
Sam Whiting had a good appearance out of the pen, tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball.
The lefties got it going early as Kyle Johnson, who moved up into the two-spot, made the most of the opportunity with a one-out double. Blake Klassen made his return to the lineup in the clean-up spot as the DH and didn’t miss a step, driving Johnson in on an RBI single. UCSB collected three hits in the inning.
Johnson doubled to right and came around to score on a single from Klassen.
The Waves were quick to respond in the bottom half using a bases-loaded walk to tie the game, but Callahan limited the damage to just one run and got out of the jam.
Callahan was nearly out of the fourth, retiring the first two batters, but then allowed a walk and three singles to give Pepperdine the lead at 3-1.
A two-run home run in the fifth extended the Waves lead to 5-1.
For the third straight inning, the Waves hung a crooked number on the board, once again scoring three runs with two outs to make it 8-1. It was a tough break for UCSB as a ball that could have been fielded by the Gaucho infield struck the third base umpire and extended the inning on the dead ball. The umpire exited the game, leaving just a two-man crew for the rest of the game.
The final run of the game was scored in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Waves made it 9-1 by scoring on a wild pitch.
This weekend the Gauchos head south for a three-game series with Cal State Northridge that begins on Friday. First pitch is set for 3 p.m. at Matador Field.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.