FRESNO, Calif. — Following yesterday's spotty performance in an 8-1 loss, the Gauchos needed a standout performance on the mound to rebound quickly and effectively. That's exactly what they received, as sophomore righty Austin Pettibone had one of the best starts of his young career in leading his team to their first victory of the season, defeating the Fresno State Bulldogs 8-1 on Satuday night at Beiden Field in a near mirror image of Friday night's affair.
The Yorba Linda, Calif. native — who led the team in wins last year with eight — earned his first "W" of the season by throwing six innings and giving up just one run. Pettibone, who doesn't possess overpowering stuff, effectively pitched to contact on Saturday — the Bulldogs grounded into a pair of double plays and didn't hit a fly a ball into the outfield until the sixth inning.
That first fly ball was a good one though, as it left the park off the bat of Fresno leadoff hitter Jordan Luplow, who continued to be a thorn in UCSB's side. The solo shot was his first of the year. The Bulldogs tried to mount a rally following that long ball, as the next two batters singled, but freshman right fielder Andrew Calica — in his UCSB debut — made a nice catch on a well hit ball off the bat of Trent Garrison before Pettibone got Austin Wynns to roll into a 6-4-3 double play. Pettibone finished the night with three strikeouts, one walk, and seven hits allowed, none going for extra bases except the Luplow home run.
UCSB's offense got off to a slow start, but was able to manufacture a run in the third inning. Calica, in his first collegiate at-bat, singled to the left side to lead off the inning. Following a pair of sacrifice bunts, junior shortstop Brandon Trinkwon singled right back up the middle to plate Calica.
Fresno State starter Derick Velazquez otherwise kept the UCSB offense at bay over the first five innings, but one swing of the bat changed that quickly.
Leading off the sixth inning, sophomore second baseman Peter Maris hammered a ball over the right-center field fence for his first career home run. After retiring Trinkwon in the next at bat, Velazquez's seams came undone. Sophomore first baseman Tyler Kuresa doubled to center, then sophomore designated hitter Greg Mahle earned a walk to put two men on. Senior third baseman Marc Venning and sophomore outfielder Luke Swenson followed with back-to-back RBI doubles to give the Gauchos a sizable lead and their first rally of the 2013 season.
Chasing Velazquez — who finished with a line of four earned runs over six innings pitched with five strikeouts and three walks — from the game did little to temper UCSB's bats, as the Gauchos were able to score four more runs combined in the seventh and the eighth innings. Mahle and Venning were the ones who came through in the seventh with consecutive RBI singles, while junior catcher Jackson Morrow did it mostly by himself in the eighth — earning a walk, stealing second and advancing to third on an errant throw from pitcher Connor Chase before scoring on a sac fly from leadoff hitter Cameron Newell.
By the end of the game, every UCSB starter recorded at least one hit, besides Morrow, who had a walk and a sacrifice himself. Maris, Kuresa, and Venning each had two hits, while Mahle and Venning led the team with two RBIs apiece.
A pair of freshman pitchers made impressive debuts for the Gauchos. Southpaw Domenic Mazza relieved Pettibone in the seventh, throwing two scoreless innings and allowing just one hit. Righty Connor Baits pitched a scoreless ninth inning and only allowed a walk. Both youngsters struck out one batter.
For Fresno State, the heart of the order came through again, as No. 3 hitter Aaron Judge and cleanup hitter Trent Garrison both went 2-4. However, the rest of the lineup went just 4-24 and all but one of the Bulldogs' eight hits were singles.
The final game of the series will take place on Sunday afternoon at 1:05 p.m. Starters for both teams have not yet been announced. Live stats for that game can be found here.
UCSB's home opener will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at 2 p.m. against No. 5 UCLA. Tickets for that game can be purchased here.