Coming off a weekday victory over Saint Mary’s on Tuesday, No. 9 UCSB (35-11) toppled Dixie State (19-30) 8-0 on a cool Friday night as the Gauchos collected their second shutout of the season.
Starting his 13th game of the season, Cory Lewis (8-0) gave up zero runs, only allowed two hits, and racked up five Ks in his seven innings pitched.
Following him out of the bullpen was righty Nick Welch who tossed two innings of hitless, scoreless ball to finish the night. He got four of his six outs by way of the K.
Zander Darby went 1-for-1 with a monster home run and an HBP. It was his sixth knock of his freshman season. Bryce Willits and Blake Klassen each went 2-for-4 with a run.
Heavy-hitters Willits, Klassen and Nick Oakley added doubles to their stats. Christian Kirtley and Willits have now reached base in 34 and 32 straight games, respectively.
UCSB’s exquisite pitching and immaculate defense made it tough for the Trailblazers to respond, as they only put up two hits compared to the Gauchos’ 10.
With sturdy and consistent offense, the Gauchos were on fire and got things started immediately in the bottom of the first. They loaded the bases through cleverly-placed singles, walks and hit-by-pitches. An RBI fielder’s choice by Kirtley brought home Kyle Johnson and Willits while Oakley’s two-RBI double brought home Kirtley and Klassen to make it 4-0. Then it was Jason Willow collecting a single that brought home Oakley, and with zero outs still on the board, Darby homered towards right field to bring home Willow and give the Gauchos a seven spot in the opening frame.
Oakley scored in the bottom of the fourth during an attempted double steal with Broc Mortensen. Mortensen was ruled out in the ensuing rundown which allowed Oakley to come home.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.