SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – At a possible turning point in Tuesday's non-conference game, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team didn't shy away and took control en route to a 10-5 victory over Pepperdine.
After the Waves turned an error into three unearned runs to take a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, the Gauchos scored five runs and starting pitcher Zak Edgington immediately put up a zero with a 1-2-3 fifth inning. UCSB turned that momentum in to four more runs to run away from Pepperdine at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Gauchos improve to 12-11 while Pepperdine falls to 16-9.
Joey Wallace led off the fourth inning with a single to center before junior Marc Venning turned on a Matt Maurer pitch and launched it over the left field scoreboard for his first home run as a Gaucho to tie the game.
A double by Joe Winterburn followed by a hit batter, a sac bunt and a walk brought up Bryce Tafelski. The senior lined a ball into center field for a two-run single before freshman Greg Mahle added an RBI single to cap the inning.
Mahle had three run-scoring singles on the day as the freshman upped his average to .411 and a team-best 20 RBI.
Venning, meanwhile, doubled and scored on Steven Moon's squeeze bunt in the fifth and then added an RBI single in Santa Barbara's two-run eighth inning. Venning and Mahle each had three hits and three RBI.
The Gaucho offense, the best in the Big West, chased Maurer after just 3.2 innings. The lefty entered the game 4-0 with a 1.93 ERA but allowed six earned runs on six hits in his short time on the mound on Tuesday.
Edgington, making his first start of the season, pitched a solid 5.0 innings, allowing four hits, three runs (none earned) with three strikeouts. The senior from Belmont, Calif. is now 1-1 with a 2.92 ERA on the season.
Junior right-hander Jared Wilson relieved Edgington and pitched three sparkling innings, striking out three and allowing just two hits. Mahle, who started as the Gauchos' first baseman, got the final two outs via strikeouts to finish off the victory.
UCSB opens Big West Conference play on Friday with a three-game series vs. UC Riverside at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday's
games are at 1 p.m. All three games – as all UCSB conference games – will be broadcast live on AM 1290 in Santa Barbara and online by clicking here.
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