Gauchos Bested 9-5 by USC in Series Finale

Andrew Calica (Photo by Eric Evelhoch)
Andrew Calica (Photo by Eric Evelhoch)

LOS ANGELES – Center fielder Timmy Robinson hit a pair of homers and drove in five runs to lead USC to a 9-5 win over No. 17 UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's series finale at Dedeaux Stadium. 

The Trojan (11-11) win snapped a nine-game win streak for UCSB (18-4), which is off to one of the best starts in program history. The Gauchos had already clinched the series after taking the opener 10-1 on Thursday before prevailing 5-2 on Friday,

In going 3-4 with three RBIs, junior leadoff hitter Andrew Calica was the top bat for a Gaucho lineup that produced 10 hits in the loss. Senior third baseman Ryan Clark had a double and triple as well while sophomore catcher Dempsey Grover added a pair of singles. 

UCSB went up 2-0 after three innings thanks to leadoff extra-base hits from Calica and Clark. Calica got the party started by ripping a two-bagger down the right field line to open the game, coming around on an RBI groundout from Josh Adams. Two innings later, Clark went the opposite way and drove a triple into the right field corner before scoring on a Billy Fredrick RBI single. 

USC's previously dormant bats came alive in violent fashion in the bottom of the third. 

No. 8 hitter Angelo Armenta and No. 9 hitter Reggie Southall opened the frame by rolling base hits through the right side. After a sac bunt, DH David Edson halved UCSB's lead with a perfectly placed squeeze bunt down the third base line that ended up going for a single. 

Two batters later, Robinson punished a 2-1 fastball from UCSB starter Joe Record for a three-run homer, putting the Trojans up for good at 4-2. 

After plating single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, USC put the game on ice with a three-run sixth. Catcher Jeremy Martinez provided the big hit of that rally with a two-run double into the right-center gap, before Robinson capped the scoring with a sac fly. 

Despite the large deficit, UCSB kept clawing for runs. They were most succesful in the seventh, when Calica drove a 2-1 offering off the base of the center field wall for a two-run triple. 

Record ended up on the hook for the loss for UCSB, dropping his record to 3-2. He ended the day allowing five earned runs on five hits and two walks while striking out one in four innings. 

His counterpart, USC right-hander Joe Navilhon, got the win after allowing four earned in 6 1/3 innings. He became the first right-handed starting pitcher to defeat the Gauchos this season. 

UCSB next plays on Tuesday afternoon at Pepperdine before opening Big West play at Long Beach State starting on Friday. First pitch against the Waves is scheduled for 3:00 p.m.