UCSB baseball’s bats came to life in a big way Sunday afternoon, as the Gauchos (17-4, 5-1 Big West) clobbered four home runs on the way to scoring a season-high 14 runs, winning the game and the series against CSUN (13-6, 3-3 Big West). Jared Sundstrom recorded his second multi-homer game for UCSB, hitting one in the second inning and another in the fourth. Tyler Bremner got the start and the win, working five innings and striking out seven in the Gauchos 14-5 victory.
HOW IT HAPPENED
UCSB struck early and often, hitting a home run in each of the first four innings and scoring all 14 of their runs before making 15 outs Sunday afternoon. Christian Kirtley got the party started, taking an 0-2 pitch the opposite way for his fourth home run of the season to put the Gauchos in front in the bottom of the first. In the bottom of the second, it was Jared Sundstrom’s turn to tee off, with the sophomore hitting his first of two two-run homers to right center, making it 3-0.
CSUN brought in a reliever to start the third inning, and UCSB jumped all over him, with Zander Darby sending the second pitch he saw 427 feet out to right field for the third Gaucho home run of the day. Eight of the next nine UCSB batters reached base safely, and by the end of the inning it was 9-0 Gauchos. After a single and two walks loaded the bases, LeTrey McCollum worked a walk to force in a run, then Nick Oakley drove in two more with a single up the middle. Corey Nunez and Ivan Brethowr each singled as well, adding the fifth and sixth runs in the inning. In total, 11 Gauchos came to the plate in the bottom of the third.
The Matadors got a run back in the top of the fourth, but UCSB more than made up for it in the bottom of the inning, scoring four more runs in the frame. Broc Mortensen got on base the hard way, being hit by a pitch, but then got a leisurely trot home when Sundstrom blasted his second two-run shot of the game, 453 feet to almost straightaway center field. After Oakley worked a walk, Nunez drove him home with a triple to right center, then Brethowr drove home Nunez on an RBI single that bounced right off the first base bag.
After watching the Gauchos’ offensive outburst, CSUN finally got to UCSB starter Tyler Bremner, scoring three runs in the top of the fifth inning to go with their one from the fourth. Bremner had started the game strong, striking out the side in the first inning, and not allowing a run through the first three. But the freshman had spent a lot of time sitting on the bench while his offense poured on the runs, and the Matadors knocked a pair of singles, then a pair of doubles to tally their three runs in the fifth inning, Bremner’s final frame of work.
The Gauchos got one of those runs back in the bottom of the inning, as a bases-loaded passed ball allowed Mortensen to scamper home from third, but that pretty much ended the drama. Aaron Parker hit a triple to the right field corner in the seventh but was left stranded, and CSUN scored a run in the eighth but was never threatening to come all the way back. Brady Huddlestun, Alex Schrier, and Michael Rice combined to pitch the final four innings and wrap up the game for the Gauchos.
ON THE STAT SHEET
– UCSB’s four home runs on Sunday are only the second-most they have hit in a game this season; the Gauchos hit five at Oregon back in February. They now have eight multi-homer games on the year
– By hitting two home runs Sunday afternoon, Jared Sundstrom became the first Gaucho to record multiple multi-homer games this season, making it his second with two long balls
– Sunday was also UCSB’s second game with multiple triples, as Corey Nunez and Aaron Parker each legged out three-baggers against the Matadors; the Gauchos’ last multi-triple game was against Minnesota on opening weekend, when they hit three
– Brady Huddlestun made his first appearance in 23 days out of the bullpen on Sunday, picking up right where he left off with two scoreless innings; the right-hander has only allowed one run this season, and it was unearned
The Gauchos will head north next weekend, traveling to Fresno to take on Fresno State in a three-game series, March 31 – April 2. First pitch times from Fresno are set for 6 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Saturday, and 1 p.m. Sunday. UCSB was originally scheduled to play a mid-week contest at St. Mary’s on Tuesday, but that game has been canceled due to rain in the forecast. The Gauchos return to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on April 3, when they will host Santa Clara.
Eric Boose is assistant director of athletic communications at UCSB.