The Gauchos opened up their weekend series with UC Davis with a 5-3 win Friday, thanks in part to an incredible game-tying home run robbery with two outs in the ninth by Christian Kirtley.
Cory Lewis (4-0) picked up his fourth win of the season tossing 6.1 innings and allowing just two runs. And Ryan Harvey collected his eighth save with another clean sheet in the ninth thanks to the heroics from Kirtley.
Zander Darby went 2-for-3 with a home run, two runs and two walks as the lead-off man.
Broc Mortensen went just 1-for-5, but his one hit was the difference maker as he collected a 3 RBI single.
As they have in 14 of their 18 games this season, the Gauchos got on the board first with Darby launching a two-out solo shot in the top of the third to put UCSB up 1-0. It was his third of the season and first against a team other than Oregon.
UCSB made it 2-0 in the top of the fourth as Nick Vogt collected an infield single and promptly made his way around advancing on a wild pitch and stealing third. The next batter, Kyle Johnson, brought him home on an RBI ground out.
Lewis was dominant early, retiring 11 of the first 12 batters he faced as the first four innings rolled on in record time. UC Davis brought a runner to third in the bottom of the sixth with one out, but Lewis was unphased, stranding the Aggie 90 feet away with back-to-back outs.
In the top of the seventh, Jason Willow collected a one-out double and Gianni Bloom and Sprinkle drew back-to-back walks to load the bases. With two outs, Mortensen stepped to the plate and drilled a single into left field to clear the bases and put his team up 5-0.
UC Davis found all three of its runs in the bottom half of the inning to stay in the game.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, the Aggies brought the tying run to the plate in Kyler Arenado, who sent what would’ve been a game tying-home run over the left field wall, but Kirtley had plans of his own snagging the ball from over the wall to end the game.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.