Gauchos Cruise Past Cal Baptist

Ben Brecht (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Ben Brecht (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Ben Brecht struck out eight through seven shutout innings and the No. 25 UC Santa Barbara baseball team won its 11th in a row with an 8-2 victory over Cal Baptist on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

UCSB (13-2) improved to 5-0 in series openers this season and its 11-game win streak is its longest since the 1990 season. Cal Baptist, meanwhile, falls to 13-5 with the loss.

Brecht was electric on the mound on Friday, mowing down the Lancers at will, and at one point struck out five straight between the second and third innings. He scattered four hits and walked just one to go along with his eight strikeouts while earning his third win of the season.

The Gauchos got the scoring started in the bottom of the second when Jason Willow hit a towering triple to the corner in right field, scoring Thomas Rowan, who led off the inning with a single.  

After driving a 400-foot fly out to centerfield in his first at-bat, Tevin Mitchell made his next plate appearance count, hitting a line-drive home run to left to put UCSB ahead 2-0.

UCSB continued to pile up the runs one by one as Armani Smith followed Mitchell's lead with a towering home run over the scoreboard in left to open the fourth. The Gauchos brought around another run later in the inning after a well-executed hit-and-run moved Cole Mueller to third, and a CBU error allowed him to score.

The Gauchos put the pressure on the Lancers with their base running all game, and in the sixth, it was Willow stealing second and moving to third on a passed ball after leading off the inning with a single. Christian Kirtley drove a ball deep enough to right to score Willow, and UCSB took a 5-0 lead. The Gauchos finished with five stolen bases in the game.

In the seventh, Smith lined a ball to left center for a hustle triple, driving in Rowan, and came home on a wild pitch to make it a 7-0 advantage for Santa Barbara.

Mueller led off the eighth with a double and came around to score on a sac fly from Mitchell to cap off the Gauchos' scoring.

Cal Baptist spoiled the shut out with a two-run home run in the ninth.

Mitchell finished 2-for-3 at the plate with two RBIs and a run scored in his debut as a leadoff hitter. Smith, Willow and Mueller all went 2-for-4 with Smith and Mueller scoring two runs apiece.  

UCSB and Cal Baptist continue the series tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.