Gauchos Outlast BYU 10-8 in Series Opener

Kenny Corey (photo by Tony Mastres)
Kenny Corey (photo by Tony Mastres)

PROVO, Utah – Every player in the starting lineup had a hit and five recorded multiple hits as UC Santa Barbara survived a pair of late offensive surges from Brigham Young University, taking the series opener at Miller Park by a score of 10-8. 

Third baseman Kenny Corey (2-4, team-high three RBIs), catcher Sam Cohen (3-5, two runs), and left fielder Billy Fredrick (two doubles, one RBI) were the headliners in a solid offensive night for the Gauchos (5-7), who put up a hit in every inning and put up a crooked number in four separate frames. 

BYU threatened to tie or take the lead in both the seventh and ninth innings, but the Gaucho bullpen wiggled out of dangerous jams on both occasions. 

The Cougars' most dangerous rally came in the seventh, as a pair of runs came in on an RBI single and a wlid pitch, cutting UCSB's lead two just two. Freshman righty Shea Barry entered the game at that point for the Gauchos, and he was greeted with an RBI base hit from Keaton Kringlen that put the tying run 180 feet from home. 

Fortunately for the Gauchos, Barry dug deep and stopped the bleeding there, inducing a harmless popout to first base before Bronson Larsen flew out to left, just short of the warning track. 

Another rally in the ninth made the final moments of the three-hour, 33-minute affair tense, with BYU loading the bases against UCSB closer Alex Garcia with just one out on a pair of walks and an infield single.

Things looked like they might go sideways after Garcia walked Bronson Larsen to bring in a run and make it 10-8, but once again a Gaucho reliever escaped the jam, getting a foul pop from Kyle Dean then coaxing a flyout to right from Favero to end the game. 

Corey opened the scoring for UCSB in the second with a two-run line drive single to center. Then in the sixth – just after BYU went up 4-3, its first and only lead of the game – he came up big again, driving in Cohen with a single and moving Tommy Jew to third base. That last bit would prove crucial a few moments later when Larsen, the Cougar catcher, sailed a pickoff throw into left-center field allowing Jew to come in for the go-ahead run. 

RBI base hits from JJ Muno and Sam Cohen in the seventh and eighth innings, respectively, provided needed insurance runs for the Gauchos. 

The Gauchos' success with the bats made a winner out of starting pitcher Noah Davis, who improved to 3-1 despite enduring a rare off day. The sophomore righty walked four and allowed six earned over six-plus innings. 

UCSB and BYU resumes their series tomorrow with an afternoon double-header. The opener is slated to begin at 1:00 p.m. PST. UCSBGauchos.com will have a live audio broadcast of both games, while The W TV will stream the contests. Links to both will be available on the baseball schedule page