UCSB Earns 10-3 Midweek Win Over Nevada

Ben Brecht (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Ben Brecht (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara baseball pounded out 11 hits and took advantage of three errors to earn a comfortable 10-3 win over Nevada in non-conference action at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Tuesday afternoon.

After the Wolf Pack (9-25) parlayed a leadoff double by Justin Bridgman into a 1-0 lead in the top of the first, UCSB (13-17) immediately responded with a go-ahead rally in the bottom of the frame, scoring three two-out runs to take the lead for good.

Junior third baseman Kenny Corey had the biggest hit of that rally, snaking a double inside the third base bag and into the left-field corner for a two-run double. He scored moments later when Nevada shortstop Jaylon McLaughlin threw the ball away trying to throw out Tommy Jew on an infield single.

Two innings later, junior shortstop JJ Muno effectively put the game to bed with a three-run bomb to right-center, his second roundtripper of the year.

Though it proved unnecessary thanks to another standout outing from freshman southpaw Ben Brecht, the Gauchos went on to plate runs in three of their final five turns at bat.

"JJ landed the big blow today which allowed us to carry some momentum, but we really strung together a lot of good at-bats," said UCSB assistant coach Eddie Cornejo. "On the mound, Ben was able to pound the zone, get ahead early, and defensively we were able to get into a rhythm."

Brecht turned in another solid outing in his third consecutive midweek start, giving up just one earned run on five hits while pitching into the seventh. He has recorded a quality start in three straight appearances, becoming just the second Gaucho to achieve that feat this season (Noah Davis).

The lefty from Wilmette, Ill. was in control for the majority of his start, throwing 10 pitchers or fewer and retiring the side in order in the second, fourth, and sixth innings.

He did a good job of pitching out of trouble in the odd innings, limiting the damage to one run apiece in the first and third before striking out the side after a leadoff single in the fifth.

The Wolf Pack's final crack at getting back in the came in the seventh, as they got two on with one out. Though eventually loading the bases, UCSB righty Kevin Chandler was able to get his team out of the jam unscathed by freezing Otis Statum on a 2-2 frontdoor slider for the third out.

UCSB had no shortage of offensive standouts on Tuesday, led by Muno and Corey who each had three RBIs. Elsewhere, Armani Smith continued his breakout freshman season with a two-double, three-hit day, senior left fielder Billy Fredrick doubled and singled to extend his team-high hitting streak to eight games, and junior second baseman Colton Burns reached three times in four plate appearances.

The Gauchos return to action this weekend with a three-game Big West series at home against UC Irvine starting on Thursday at 3:00 p.m. The series will run from Thursday to Saturday due to Easter being this Sunday.