SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The visiting Long Beach State Dirtbags exploded for six runs in the third inning of Sunday's series finale at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Gauchos with an 8-4 win.
UCSB had previously taken the series with back-to-back one-run wins on Friday and Saturday. The Gauchos ended the week with a 20-18, 6-6 record, while LBSU improved to 17-20, 6-6.
Dirtbags starter David Hill had an extremely effective outing, taking a no-hitter into the sixth inning. The first hit – and run – the Gauchos would put across came off the bat of Robby Nesovic, who smashed his second home run of the season with one out in the sixth. UCSB continued to capitalize against Hill in the sixth, as a Joey Epperson double and a RBI single from Cameron Newell got the Gauchos another run.
Hill, who improved to 3-2 with the victory, ended the day with a line of six innings pitched, three hits and two runs allowed with four walks and a pair of strikeouts.
Hill was staked to a seven run lead when LBSU sent 10 batters to the plate in a six-run third inning. After retiring Colby Brenner to start the frame, UCSB starter Robby Nesovic – the reigning Big West Pitcher of the Week – allowed six straight batters to reach before he was relieved by Domenic Mazza.
The freshman lefty did a good job stopping the bleeding from there, allowing just one run to score after the switch. He ended the day allowing no earned runs over 2.2 innings pitched.
Nesovic would get hung with the loss, falling to 1-2 on the year. He ended the day with a line of six earned runs allowed over 2 1/3 innings pitched.
Besides the third inning outburst, the Gauchos pitching staff actually had a solid day, allowing only one earned run and six hits over the remaining eight innings.
After Hill left the game, the Gauchos were able to get a little more offensive rhythm going, highlighted by shortstop Brandon Trinkwon launching a two-run homer – almost a carbon copy of his blast on Friday – in the seventh inning.
Trinkwon also turned in one of the defensive plays of the year in the ninth inning. With one out and nobody on, Richard Prigatano hit a grounder into the hole on the left side. As Trinkwon went to backhand the ball, it took a nasty hop, going high and back against his momentum. Trinkwon made the tough grab, settled, and threw out the runner by a half step at first base.
This upcoming week, the Gauchos will host the University of San Diego on Wednesday afternoon in a midweek matchup before traveling to UC Riverside for a three-game Big West set with the Highlanders.