Gump's Ninth-Inning Slam Lifts Gauchos Over Cal Poly, 5-3Brian Gump's two-out grand slam in the top of the ninth inning catapulted UC Santa Barbara to a thrilling 5-3 come-from-behind win over Big West Conference rival Cal Poly Sunday afternoon at Baggett Stadium. Cal Poly (18-22, 6-9) entered the ninth with a commanding 3-0 lead, but UCSB (29-13, 8-4) rallied for five runs in the final frame off Mustang closer D.J. Mauldin. The Gauchos eighth Big West win of the year was also Head Coach Bob Brontsema's 400th career victory at UCSB.
The Gauchos were unable to score against Mustang starter Steven Fischback through eight innings, as the right-hander allowed only four hits, while striking out nine and walking none. Fischback handed the ball to Mauldin in the ninth looking to take two of three from UCSB in the critical Big West showdown.
With the Mustangs up 3-0 in the top of the ninth, Mauldin quickly struck out Mike Zuanich to start off the inning. Shortstop Shane Carlson then singled to left center and stole second base on the following at-bat. Designated hitter John DeAlba singled home Carlson in the ensuing at-bat for the first Gaucho run of the game. Patrick Rose followed with an infield single to put runners on first and second with one away. Chris McMurray pinch-hit for Matt McColgan and struck out, bringing Steve Cook to the plate. Cook worked the count full before drawing a walk to load the bases. With the bases loaded and two-out, the Gaucho's fate rested in the hands of right fielder Brian Gump. Gump hammered the first pitch he saw over the center field wall, as four Gauchos circled the bases to take an incredible 5-3 lead. Gump's first grand slam and fourth home run of the year capped an impressive 3-for-5 day for the fleet-footed lefty.
Michael Martin (4-2) earned the win pitching perfect eighth and ninth innings inducing Pat Pezet to fly out to center field to secure the victory.
Gaucho starter Chuck Huggins pitched well in his tenth start of the year, allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in seven innings of work. The Redwood City, Calif., native struck out six and walked only one, lowering his season ERA to 3.38.
In addition to his 3-for-5 one run, four-RBI performance, Gump also stole his 22nd and 23rd bases of the year. DeAlba went 1-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI.
The Gauchos crucial come-from-behind win places them second in the Big West Conference, while Cal Poly dropped to seventh place.
UCSB resumes play on Wednesday, April 30 against Pepperdine at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.