UCSB Bats Erupt in Series Finale at Riverside

McClain O'Connor
McClain O'Connor

RIVERSIDE, Calif.- In a blowout series finale, No. 6 UC Santa Barbara Baseball detonated for an explosive 15-4 win over UC Riverside during a fiery bounce back victory.

McClain O'Connor hit his first career home run while both he and Andrew Martinez went 4-for-6 with a combined seven RBI in the Gauchos highest scoring performance of the year.

The 15 runs scored and 20 hits on the afternoon were both season highs for the Gauchos who returned to action with a dominant performance on Sunday.

Rodney Boone Jr. shut down the Highlander bats with his sixth win of the season and remained the only UCSB rotation starter with a perfect 6-0 record.

UCSB got on the board in the top of the first with a bloop single to center by Armani Smith which scored O'Connor who led off the inning with a double into the left-center gap.

Tommy Jew tacked on another with a long sac-fly to right which scored Thomas Rowan who initially reached on a base hit to left which advanced O'Connor to third.

To add one more, Andrew Martinez bounced a grounder off the end of the bat between the five-six hole and beat out the throw from the Highlander shortstop which brought in Smith to take a 3-0 lead.

The Gauchos knocked Riley Uhl off the mound in the top of the second holding Uhl to just 1.2 innings after allowing three earned runs with one striking out and a pair of walks.

Riverside retaliated in the bottom half of the frame when the Highlander's right fielder hit a home run to left.

Having scored early in each of the two previous games, UCR was threatening again in the bottom half of frame two with runners on first and second, but a double play ball to Marcos Castanon got Boone out of the jam.

With a similar situation in the third, Boone induced another double play from the Highlanders to get out of consecutive innings with UCR runners in scoring position.

O'Connor started off the top of the sixth with a single over short followed by a deep three-bagger by Rowan off the batter's eye in center which extends 400 feet from the plate.

Rowan's triple brought O'Connor around before Rowan came across the plate on the following pitch when Smith drilled a single over the Highlander second baseman to give UCSB a 5-1 advantage.

With two outs, Martinez drove in another pair of runs as Castanon and Smith came around to score on a liner down past the diving UCR third baseman. Kyle Johnson followed it up with a two-out single to left-center to score Martinez and give the Gauchos an 8-1 lead after five and a half.

Boone Jr. was replaced by Michael McGreevy in the bottom of the sixth following a 5.1 inning performance, allowing one earned run with two strikeouts and three walks.

The Gauchos weren't satisfied just yet. O'Connor put an exclamation point on the win with a three-run blast to left field for his first career home run and his third hit of the day.

Nine Gaucho batters recorded a hit in the 15-run performance while six of them belted multi-hit games.

Castanon went 3-for-5 with two runs scored while Rowan had a 2-for-5 day of work with a single and a triple. Smith drove in two during his 2-for-4 performance and Johnson contributed with a 2-for-5 clip and a triple as well.

Jew and Tevin Mitchell also recorded hits today, and Michael McAdoo singled to short for his first hit of the year.

UC Santa Barbara Baseball returns to the field on Tuesday, April 30 at 3 p.m. when Cal State Bakersfield comes to Caesar Uyesaka in the second meeting of two this season.