Gauchos Slug Past LMU on Opening Day

Marcos Castanon (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Marcos Castanon (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

LOS ANGELES, Calif. – With its opening series relocated to LMU for the second time in three years due to inclement weather, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team made the most of the situation with a 7-2 win on opening night at Page Stadium.

UCSB (1-0) slugged its way past the Lions with three solo homeruns before a four-run ninth inning put the game away for good.

Junior southpaw Ben Brecht (1-0) picked up the opening day win after scattering seven hits while striking out five and allowing just two earned runs. Junior Chris Lincoln was dominant in relief, picking up the save after tossing four no-hit innings and striking out five.

In 2017, after UCSB's season-opening series against LMU was relocated to Page Stadium, shortstop Clay Fisher hit a lead-off homerun over the 37-foot Blue Monster in left to spark the Gauchos to a 6-3 win. On Saturday night, shortstop Marcos Castanon made the games eerily similar with a blast to left to put UCSB ahead 1-0.

The Lions answered back in the bottom half of the second with a solo homerun of their own, but the slugfest continued as Tommy Jew hit a shot to left center in the third to help UCSB regain the lead, 2-1.

LMU put together a pair of hits and a walk in the third to tie the game at 2-2 before freshman Jarred Greene sent his first career collegiate hit over the right field fence for a go-ahead solo homerun.

With a 3-2 lead, and Lincoln mowing through the LMU offense, the Gauchos looked to add some insurance in the ninth. With the bases loaded, Jew came up with an RBI infield single and freshman Christian Kirtley laced a two-RBI single up the middle to put UCSB ahead 6-2. A wild pitch on the ensuing at-bat, allowed Jew to come around to score and give Santa Barbara the 7-2 lead.

LMU went down one-two-three in the ninth to end the game.

Jew and Kirtley both went 2-for-5 with two RBIs while Castanon finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Greene went 1-for-3 with a run and RBI after his solo shot, and Eric Yang added the only other hit for UCSB on the night.

The Gauchos play one more game against LMU at Page Stadium, tomorrow, Feb. 17 at 1:00 p.m.