SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – One game after having its program record tying 12-game win streak snapped, the No. 22 UC Santa Barbara baseball team returned to its winning ways with a 7-3 win over Missouri State in the series opener on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Ben Brecht baffled the Bears (5-14) with 10 strikeouts through 5.2 innings to pick up his fourth win of the season. The junior lefthander struck out the side in both the second and third inning and finished allowing just three runs on five hits with one walk.
UCSB (15-3) got on the board first, bringing a run across in the first inning on an RBI single deep in the hole to short off the bat of Jew, scoring Tevin Mitchell who walked to lead off the game and went to third on an Eric Yang single. With one out and the bases loaded, Armani Smith roped a ball to deep right that was somehow tracked down for the catch and relayed to first for the inning ending double play.
Brecht got into a bit of trouble in the third inning, after a leadoff double, walk and single loaded the bases. A hit batter brought in a run to tie the game, 1-1, but Brecht struck out the next two to escape the jam.
The Gauchos broke it open in the bottom half of the third after an RBI double from Jew to left center scored Mitchell who hustled home all the way from first. Christian Kirtley followed with another double down the line to bring in Jew, and Smith kept it going with a home run down the left field line to put UCSB ahead 5-1.
Santa Barbara made it a 6-1 ball game with another run in the fourth on a sac fly from Jew.
Missouri State looked to climb back into the game late with back-to-back solo shots to lead of the sixth. Brecht, however, managed to regain his composure and recorded back-to-back strikeouts before Michael McGreevy entered the game out of the pen.
McGreevy picked up his fourth save of the year after going the final 3.1 innings keeping the Bears scoreless, allowing just one hit and striking out six. The 16 combined strikeouts between Brecht and McGreevy is a season-high for the Gauchos this year and the 12th time UCSB has struck out at least 10 batters in a game.
Along with Jew's big day at the dish, Thomas Rowan finished 2-for-4 with an RBI and Yang went 2-for-5.
UCSB and Missouri State will play game two of the series tomorrow afternoon beginning at 2:00 p.m.