No. 17 UCSB Tops USC 10-1 in Series Opener For Eighth Straight Win

Shane Bieber (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Shane Bieber (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Junior right-hander Shane Bieber scattered five hits over seven innings of one run ball and sophomore designated hitter Josh Adams homered for the second straight game to steer No. 17 UC Santa Barbara to a 10-1 victory over USC, the team's eighth consecutive win. 

The Gauchos (17-3) put the leadoff runner on base every inning against the Trojans (10-10), leading to a 5-0 lead after four frames against starter Brent Wheatley. 

UCSB went on to tag five more runs on the Trojans bullpen in the latter half of the game to match the 2014 Gauchos team for the best 20-game start to a season for the program since 1984 (19-1). 

Adams put UCSB up for good in the second inning with a two-run line shot over the right field fence, his team-leading fourth roundtripper of the year. Sophomore catcher Dempsey Grover started that rally with a leadoff double into the left-center field gap, and then JJ Muno reached when his sac bunt led to a wide throw from Trojans third baseman Adalberto Carrillo. 

"It seems when Josh gets a bat on it that it goes a long way," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "He's been a nice little pick-me-up for us the past few games. He's swinging the bat well and putting together good at-bats."

Later, RBI singles from Andrew Calica in the fourth, Billy Fredrick in the sixth, and Ryan Clark in the seventh helped cement the fourth win of the season in five decisions for Bieber, who cruised through the Trojans lineup over a seven inning outing. 

The Laguna Hills, Calif. native allowed just five hits in his stint, the third straight start he's given up six or less. The only run that came across for USC, a David Oppenheim RBI single in the fifth, was unearned against UCSB's ace. 

Despite not possessing his best stuff – he walked a season-high three while striking out a season-low two – he did a great job of pitching to contact, rolling up a key double play ball in the first. Other than that run-scoring fifth, Bieber didn't let a Trojan runner into scoring position at all past the first inning. 

After Bieber departed following the seventh, freshman right-hander Kevin Chandler did a nice job finishing off the job, tossing two innings of shutout relief and giving up only one hit. 

UCSB and USC will resume their three-game series tomorrow at 3:00 p.m. With a victory, UCSB can match its longest win streak since 2004. The series finale, on Saturday, will take place at USC's Dedeaux Field.