Kuresa's Walk-Off Single Leads Gauchos to a 2-1 Victory
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – In an exhibition game against Waseda University, Tyler Kuresa hit a pinch-hit walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning to boost the Gauchos to a 2-1 win on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
In this game, the Gauchos primarily played a bullpen game with their pitching staff, using six pitchers total with no pitcher tossing more than two innings. Andrew Vasquez, Robby Nesovic, Kenny Chapman, Cameron Cuneo, Connor Baits, and Campbell Wear combined to pitch nine innings of one run ball, allowing only two hits and one walk in the process. Catcher Dempsey Grover led UCSB's offense with a 3 for 4 performance, including an RBI single. Scott Quinlan also added two hits for the Gauchos.
Waseda quickly got on the board in the top of the first, as Syota Nakazawa led off the game with a triple off the top of the right field wall. Nakazawa would then score on Shogo Nakamura's sacrifice fly, giving Waseda a 1-0 lead. Neither team would get a hit until Ryan Clark singled to right in the bottom of the fourth with one out. After Clark advanced to third from a wild pitch and a groundout, Grover came through with a two-out RBI single to left field to tie the game at one.
UCSB and Waseda would proceed to exchange scoreless innings until the bottom of the ninth inning. With one out, Josh Adams singled and was pinch-ran for by Andrew Calica. Joey Epperson followed by hitting a pinch hit single, putting runners on second and first. Coming in to pinch hit with two outs, Kuresa responded with an RBI walk-off single off Waseda's Sosei Kimoto, scoring Calica and giving the Gauchos their first walk-off victory of the season.
Campbell Wear pitched scoreless eighth and ninth innings to record the win. Kimoto took the loss after allowing one run in 1.2 innings.
Andrew Vasquez started the game for the Gauchos, allowing one run in two innings with two strikeouts. The rest of the bullpen pitched seven lights-out innings and only allowed one hit. Yuhei Takanashi was the starting pitcher for Waseda and pitched four innings of one-run ball with five strikeouts.
Waseda's offense was quiet for most of the game other than the first inning. Nakazawa and Nakamura each had one of the team's two hits, and Shinnosuk Shigenobu drew the lone walk. Kosuke Adachi also contributed three shutout innings in relief of Takanashi.
This weekend, the Gauchos will head out for a road trip to Tuscon, Ariz. for a four-game tournament with the University of Arizona and Mississippi State. UCSB matches up with the Bulldogs first at 2:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon.