No. 5 UCSB Baseball picked up its 40th win of the season Sunday afternoon, sweeping UC Riverside with a 14-2 win. The Big West Champs have now had three-straight 40-win seasons and they did so this year on Senior Day, the final regular season game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
UCSB now boasts a 40-12 overall record with a 24-3 Big West mark.
Freshman Ryan Gallagher (7-0) earned the start and tossed six full innings. He only gave up three hits and two runs while striking out three.
Christian Kirtley and Bryce Willits continued their on-base streak to 40 and 38 straight games. Kirtley ended the game going 3-for-4 with an RBI. Willits had a hit, a run and an RBI.
Stolen bases were plentiful this Sunday. Mason Eng, Nick Vogt, Newman Jr. and Willits each had one. Jordan Sprinkle, Jason Willow, Broc Mortensen all had two for a total of 10.
Willow had a double and a run. Sprinkle went 3-for-4 with a run, a triple, and four RBI. Vogt collected a hit, a RBI, and two runs. Mortensen racked up two hits, two runs, three RBI and a double.
Eng also hit his first home run of his career at UCSB. He later ended the game with another run and hit.
There was no stopping UCSB as they scored for four innings straight. Starting in the first, the Gauchos posted a four-spot. A single down the middle by Vogt brought Willits home to score the first run of the game. The bases then became loaded after Mortensen reached on a fielder’s choice and Newman Jr. walked, and Sprinkle’s single to the gap in center brought home Mortensen and Vogt. Newman Jr. then scored on an error, and Sprinkle stole second and third base.
The next frame was no different, as the Gauchos scored another two runs. Eng singled down left and took off to steal second, his first second stolen base of the season and the second in his career. Eng later scored on an RBI single by Kirtley. The second run of the inning came from Johnson, who walked and scored on Mortensen’s single to make it a 6-0 game.
UC Riverside responded with a single run at the top of the third.
The hits just kept coming for UCSB, as Willits singled to right field to bring home Willow and extend the lead to 7-1.
The base burglaries continued in the bottom of the fourth as Mortensen stole second and third, Newman Jr. stole second, and Sprinkle’s RBI triple brought them both home. Eng then hit his first career home run, bringing the crowd to its feet with a laser over the left field wall.
The Highlanders gained another run at the top of the sixth, but that would be their final run of the weekend.
The action did not stop for the Gauchos in the seventh as the bases were again loaded when Mortensen doubled to center and brought home Zander Darby and Vogt. The Gauchos scored a third run after Bloom grounded out to shortstop to score Jessada Brown and make it a 14-2 ball game.
Michael Rice, Elliot Gallegos, and Clayton Hall each took an inning out of the pen and held UCR scoreless and hitless over the final frames.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.