No. 24 UCSB Baseball (20-8, 9-2) held off CSUN (15-13, 4-7) in game two of its series at Matador Field to earn the 9-7 win and take the series.
Mike Gutierrez (5-1) earned the start and the win for the Gauchos, tossing 6.2 innings. He allowed four earned on four hits and five walks while striking out six.
Brady Huddleston entered in the eighth and tossed 1.2 innings to earn the five-out save, the first collegiate save of the freshman’s career.
Jordan Sprinkle was productive hitting in the ninth spot for the Gauchos, turning the lineup over with a 2-for-3 performance that included a home run, three RBIs, and a walk.
The hot bat of Bryce Willits picked up a pair of hits, as did Kyle Johnson who had a double and an RBI. Nick Vogt added two RBIs of his own.
Christian Kirtley has now reached base safely in 16 straight games, Willits has in 14, and Johnson extended his hit streak to 10-straight.
The Gauchos got it going first in game two, putting a three-spot up in the top of the second. Nick Vogt got aboard with a leadoff walk and promptly made his way to second on a Matador error. With one out, John Newman Jr. stepped in, singling up the middle as he has done so many times this season to give UCSB the 1-0 lead. Then it was Sprinkle’s turn and the shortstop wasted no time extending the Gaucho lead to 3-0 with a jack over the wall in left field, his third of the year.
UCSB broke the game wide open in the third as seven of the first eight batters in the inning reached base safely. Vogt came to the plate with the bases loaded and no outs and roped a double to right center to score a pair. A Matador error brought another in as Newman Jr. reached, and the next batter was Jason Willow, who made it a 7-0 ball game with a single through the left side that scored Vogt.
CSUN scored its first runs in the game bringing one across in both the third and fourth to cut the lead to 7-2, but Sprinkle got one back in the fifth, collecting an RBI single to right field.
With their backs against the wall, the Matadors did what they had to, scoring five runs over the next three innings to make it a one-run game at 8-7. With one out in the bottom of the eighth, Huddleston entered the game and got out of the jam as he and Newman Jr. teamed up for the strikeout-throwout double play to end the inning.
Johnson lined a double down the opposite field line to score Kirtley in the top of the ninth to conclude the scoring efforts in the game.
Huddleston went 1-2-3 in the ninth to pick up the save.
UCSB Will look to sweep the series at Matador Field tomorrow in game three. First pitch is set for 1 p.m. in Northridge as Ryan Gallagher is expected to take the bump to start.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.