UCSB Captures Cal Poly Series With 7-3 Sunday Win

Robby Nesovic (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Robby Nesovic (Photo by Vince Agapito)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A steady flow of offense, highlighted by Robby Nesovic's four-hit day, and a solid start from lefty Domenic Mazza propelled No. 9 UC Santa Barbara to a series-clinching 7-3 win over Cal Poly in Sunday's rubber match at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Mazza, starting in place of Dillon Tate (minor trapezius injury), scattered five hits over his eight innings of work while striking out eight, ending the day with just two earned runs allowed. He picked up the win on the day, moving to 5-0 while UCSB (28-9, 6-3 Big West) remained undefeated in Mazza's starts this year.

Cal Poly dropped to 16-20, 5-4 on the campaign.

UCSB had at least one hit in every inning but the fifth, and the team plated runs in four of their eight turns at bat. Besides Nesovic, left fielder Cameron Newell (3-4), Andrew Calica (2-5, two runs scored, reached base for the 36th consecutive game), and Clay Fisher (2-3) all had big days with the bat.

The Gauchos established their offensive tone in the very first inning, as Nesovic blooped a single down the right field line to score Luke Swenson, who had reached on a one-out walk, for the game's first run.

Then in the third, UCSB connected with its biggest offensive offensive punch of the day, scoring three runs by taking advantage of some Cal Poly miscues while chipping in clutch hits.

Nesovic singled with one out to start the rally, and then the Mustangs dug themselves a hole by walking Newell and plunking Woody Woodward (who extended his program record for career HBPs to 42) to load the bases. Fisher went on to put in a quality at-bat against Mustangs reliever Taylor Chris, working a seven-pitch walk to bring in one run.

The most pivotal play of the game came next, as UCSB catcher Campbell Wear hit a major league pop-up to Cal Poly second baseman Mark Mathias, who ended up losing the ball in the sun and dropping it, allowing two more Gaucho runners to cross the plate.

RBI singles from Nesovic in the fourth and Newell in the sixth, combined with a run-scoring double into the left-center field gap from senior third baseman Peter Maris in the sixth, rounded out the UCSB offense for the day.

Meanwhile, Mazza did his best to limit the Mustangs' dangerous bats to a pair of runs over the duration of the outing.

It was evident from the beginning of the contest that the UCSB southpaw had his changeup working, as he used the offspeed pitch to strike out the side in the second inning.

He went back to the change to escape runner-in-scoring-position situations in the third and fourth innings.

Cal Poly's most promising threat of the day came in the fifth, when they loaded the bases with nobody out after a pair of walks and a base hit into shallow center field.

However, Mazza wiggled out of the potential disaster with only one run of damage. One of the more dangerous hitters in the conference, Brian Mundell ended up lunging at a changeup for a harmless infield fly to Maris for out number one. An RBI groundout to center and flyout to center later, and Mazza was back in the dugout.

UCSB will jump right back into action on Tuesday afternoon, as they will host the Pepperdine Waves in a midweek showdown, with first pitch scheduled for 3:00 p.m. In the previous matchup with Pepperdine, the Gauchos emerged victorious in a 6-4 decision, capitalizing on four Waves errors.