Gauchos Storm Past Long Beach State to Clinch Series

McClain O'Connor (Photo by Tony Mastres)
McClain O'Connor (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – A 30-minute delay due to lightning strikes in the area seemingly electrified the No. 7 UC Santa Barbara baseball team's offense, as the Gauchos scored 11 of their 13 runs after the interruption in the fourth inning and went on to blow out Long Beach State 13-1 on Saturday afternoon.

In a game that lasted just over four hours, including the 30-minute delay, UCSB showcased its offensive prowess yet again with thunderous home runs from Andrew Martinez, Thomas Rowan and Eric Yang while all nine starters recorded a hit.

Jack Dashwood weathered the storm on his way to his eighth win of the year after holding the Dirtbags to five hits in five innings, while striking out five and allowing just one run.

UCSB, owners of the best record in the nation, improved to 39-7 overall while its 14-3 mark in conference play puts them in first place in the Big West. Winners of eight in a row overall, and 17 in a row at home, the Gauchos are now a robust 24-1 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Long Beach struck first with a leadoff home run from Chris Jimenez, but that was it for the Beach as Dashwood, along with a lights-out bullpen, stymied the Dirtbags the rest of the way.

Michael McGreevy tossed 1.1 shutout innings, Trevor Beer struck out one through one, Kevin Chandler came in for a pair of outs and Chris Troye struck out the side to put a punctuation mark on the win.

Trailing 1-0 early, the Gauchos amped up the crowd with a pair of runs on four hits in the second, taking the lead on a Kyle Johnson RBI single up the middle.

A no-doubt-about-it blast from Martinez to left-center extended the lead in the fourth and Johnson added another sac fly to quickly make it 4-1.

After a Tommy Jew RBI single in the fifth, an RBI double from Tevin Mitchell sparked a five-run sixth inning. Yang followed with a towering home run down the left field line for his seventh of the year, and Rowan responded with his 10th of the year in the same inning to put UCSB ahead 9-1.

With the game well out of hand, Santa Barbara took advantage of two Long Beach errors for three more runs in the eight to make it 13-1.

McClain O'Connor and Marcos Castanon paced the offense with 3-for-5 days at the plate while Martinez finished 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Rowan finished 2-for-4 with a run and an RBI and Jew wrapped up the day 1-for-4 with a team-high three RBIs and two runs.  

With the series clinched, the Gauchos will look for the sweep against the Dirtbags tomorrow afternoon at 1:00 p.m.