CHARLESTON, S.C. – Junior right-hander Shane Bieber shook off a three-run homer in the third inning to throw his first complete game of the season and sophomore second baseman JJ Muno led the offensive charge with a two-run home run as No. 12 UC Santa Barbara bested No. 24 College of Charleston 7-4 on Friday night at Patriots Point.
Corner outfielders Josh Adams (3-5, two RBIs) and Billy Fredrick (2-4, one RBI) drove in key runs in a decisive four-run rally in the fifth inning, helping UCSB advance to 21-6 on the season. Charleston dropped to 20-10 with the loss.
The Cougars were the first ones on the board Friday, as third baseman Tommy Richter pulled the first pitch he saw over the right field fence for a three-run bomb in the third, following one-out singles from Luke Manzo and Dupree Hart.
Richter would get to Bieber again for an RBI groundout in the fifth, but after that UCSB's ace went into full shutdown mode, retiring the final 13 batters of the contest in order. He was most impressive in the ninth, striking out the first two batters of the frame before getting Erven Roper to ground out to first to end the contest.
Meanwhile, UCSB responded in the best possible fashion to that 3-0 hole, fighting back for two runs in the top of the fourth before taking the lead for good in the fifth.
The turning point of the game came when Muno hammered a 2-2 offering from CoC starter Nathan Helvey for a two-run shot, his co-team leading fourth of the year.
The Gauchos then completed the comeback with three-hit, four run rally in the fifth.
Adams kick-started the rally with an RBI single up the middle to score DH Dempsey Grover for the tying run. After first baseman Austin Bush reached on a fielder's choice, Fredrick ripped a double into the right-center gap to plate the go-ahead run, with Bush scoring the eventual game-winner moments later on a wild pitch. Fredrick would come around on a Ryan Clark groundout to cap off the rally.
UCSB received a key insurance run in the ninth from Adams, who singled through the middle once again to score leadoff man Andrew Calica, who opened the frame with a two-bagger.
The Gauchos are now 7-1 this season in series openers. Bieber moved to 6-1 on the year after receiving the win with a line of four runs allowed on six hits with no walks and eight strikeouts.
UCSB will go for the series win tomorrow behind freshman righty Noah Davis (3-0, 2.47 ERA), who will be opposed by CoC's Bailey Ober (2-1, 3.03 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. PDT.