The Gauchos improved to 3-0 in their midweek matchups against WCC opponents Tuesday night as the UCSB baseball team bested Saint Mary’s on the road 5-3.
UCSB has now won eight of its last nine games.
The Gauchos outhit Saint Mary’s 8-4, but the story came from the mound where JD Callahan (1-0) picked up his first win of the season, tossing 5.2 innings of two-hit ball, allowing just one earned and striking out five. He took a no-hitter into the bottom of the fourth.
Five Gauchos came in his relief with Hayden Hattenbach, Sam Whiting, Nick Welch, and Ryan Harvey keeping the Gaels from touching home plate. Harvey picked up his league-best 7th save retiring the Gaels in order in the ninth.
Blake Klassen who hit a monster, pinch-hit home run on Sunday earned the start as the Gauchos’ DH and did not disappoint, going 3-for-4. He was the only hitter on either team to notch a multi-hit effort.
Jordan Sprinkle extended his hit streak to nine games, collecting a double and Jason Willow got to seven straight games with a single.
As they have many times this season, the Gauchos got on the board first in the top of the third as Gianni Bloom drew a lead-off walk and advanced to third on a pair of wild pitches. A fielder’s choice RBI-groundout by Broc Mortensen brought Bloom home to give UCSB the early lead. Nick Vogt then doubled to left center to score Mortensen and make it 2-0.
Saint Mary’s cut that lead in half with a run in the fourth, but the Gauchos answered a half inning later with Sprinkle slapping an RBI double to left field that scored Zander Darby, and then came in to score on a passed ball to extend the lead to 4-1.
A Gael solo shot in the sixth made it 4-2 and gave SMC life as the home team threatened again in the bottom of the seventh. The Gaels drove one in to make it a one-run game and had two runners in scoring position before Hattenbach entered and got out of the jam with a pop-out and a fly-out to end the inning.
The tying run came to third base, and the lead run came to second in the bottom of the eighth, but the duo of Whiting and Welch made sure no Gaels would cross, getting a ground out and a full-count strikeout to preserve the late lead.
Then came the insurance with the Gauchos playing a bit of small-ball in the top of the ninth. Klassen reached on his third single of the game and would be replaced on the bases by Jessada Brown, who reached second on pinch-hit sac-bunt from Nick Oakley. John Newman Jr. was next, picking up the bat for a pinch-hit and making Head Coach Andrew Checketts look brilliant as he drove in Brown on an RBI single to left.
Once again it was Harvey in the ninth throwing BBs and retiring the batters in order for his sixth save in his last seven appearances.
The Gauchos will remain in NorCal until this weekend’s three-game series with UC Davis, which begins with game one at 2:30 p.m. Friday.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.