No. 9 UCSB Blanked in Cal Poly Opener

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

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal Poly starting pitcher Kyle Smith struck out nine and allowed just two hits while pitching into the eighth to lead the Mustangs to a 7-0 win over No. 9 UC Santa Barbara in Friday's Big West series opener at Baggett Stadium. 

With a high pitch total of 128 pitches due in part to the five walks he issued, Smith was lifted in the eighth for Justin Bruihl who notched the last five outs for the Mustangs (23-13, 5-2 Big West). 

UCSB (25-8-1, 5-2) right-hander Shane Bieber kept it close early and ended up pitching his third consecutive complete game. Cal Poly scored two runs in each of its last two turns at-bat to open it up late. 

The Gauchos had chances to get on the board in the first half of the contest, getting a man on in four of the first five innings and putting a runner in scoring position in the first two frames. 

But Smith was sharp in pitching out of the jam each time, ending the first four innings on a strikeout before getting some help from his catcher, Nick Meyer, who threw out UCSB second baseman Tevin Mitchell trying to steal second in the fifth. 

The first four batters of the Cal Poly lineup did the majority of the damage, going a combined 9-17 with six RBIs on the day. 

Bieber moved to 7-2 on the season after receiving the loss. Thanks to his complete game effort, the Gauchos will have a fully rested bullpen for their three games over the next four days. 

UCSB will look to even up the series tomorrow night at 6:00 p.m. behind the right arm of Noah Davis (3-1, 3.81 ERA). He will be opposed by Cal Poly's Erich Uelmen (4-0, 2.90). UCSBGauchos.com will have a live audio broadcast of the game, which can be accessed here