DAVIS, Calif. – No. 13 UC Santa Barbara found itself on the wrong end of a pair of late inning rallies in Friday afternoon's series opener at Dobbins Stadium, with UC Davis claiming a 6-2 win behind an outstanding collective pitching effort headlined by an eight-strikeout performance from starter Robert Garcia.
Besides a second straight three-hit day for shortstop Clay Fisher, the UCSB (30-11-1, 8-5 Big West) offense struggled against the Aggies (14-25, 3-10). The Gauchos went up 2-0 on an RBI single from Fisher and a bases-loaded walk for Andrew Calica in the second inning, but they failed to get a run across for the rest of the game.
That two-run lead looked like it might be enough for UCSB starter Shane Bieber, who cruised through his first six innings on the mound. He faltered however in the seventh, giving up a three-spot and the lead. Davis tacked on another three runs in the eighth to cement the win.
Other than a shaky, 51-pitch second inning by Garcia, the entire UC Davis pitching staff was excellent in the win.
UCD's ace got it started with a solid six-inning outing, allowing just four hits and two runs while striking out eight. Three of the four hits he allowed came in that second inning, and thanks in part to the astronomical pitch count he accrued in that frame, he had to make way for reliever Chris Brown before the seventh inning.
Brown, who earned the win to improve to 3-1, was even better than his predecessor, allowing just one hit in two-plus innings of work. After UCSB DH Josh Adams doubled to open the ninth, righty Matt Blais came in to get the final three outs of the contest, ending it with a 4-6-3 double play.
Turning in a 1-2-3 inning four times over the first six frames of the game, Bieber made it look like a pitcher's duel early on. He was at his best in the fifth, striking out the side in order. The Aggies took a more aggressive approach in the final third of the game, with Spencer Henderson and Caleb Van Blake jumping on the first pitches of their at-bats for run-scoring doubles.
UCSB will look to even the series tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 behind RHP Joe Record (4-4, 4.14 ERA). He'll be opposed by Henderson, a lefty with a 1-2 record and a 5.61 ERA. UCSBGauchos.com will have a live audio broadcast accessible here or on the UCSB baseball schedule page.