Gauchos Pound Out 16 Hits, Even Series at UC Irvine, 9-4

Drew Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Drew Williams (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

IRVINE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara flipped the script on UC Irvine Saturday.

One day after the Gauchos (16-14-1 overall, 3-2 in the Big West) fell 10-2 in the series opener, they piled up 16 hits, beating the Anteaters (19-14, 4-4) 9-4 for their first true road win of the 2018 season. Overall, it was their fifth win in the last five games.

After leaving the bases loaded in the first inning, the Gauchos pushed across the first run of the game in second. Drew Williams led off with a full count line drive single to left field. Blake Mann bunted him over to second. McClain O'Connor then shot a ball into left field, but it was hit hard and Williams was held at third, but one out later he came home when Clay Fisher, who started at second base in his first start in the field this season, hit a long fly ball out to center field. 

UCSB extended its lead to 3-0 in the fourth. Williams and Mann opened things with back-to-back base knocks to put runners on first and second. Williams, however, was picked off second by Anteater pitcher Taylor Rashi, but O'Connor lined a single through the left side and there were once again runners on first and second. O'Connor was forced out on a ground out by Fisher but Michael McAdoo walked on five pitches to load the bases and Sam Cohen scorched a single to left, scoring a pair and making the score 3-0. 

Lincoln, who was otherwise outstanding, was his own worst enemy in the bottom of the fourth. UCI pulled within 3-1, loading the bases on a single and a pair of walks and then scoring when Jake Palmer was hit by a breaking ball from Lincoln.

The Anteaters threatened in the sixth when they had a pair of singles to right field, putting runners on first and third with two outs. The second hit, by Palmer, was the end for the Gaucho starter. Kevin Chandler relieved Lincoln and didn't waste any time snuffing out the threat, getting Jacob Castro on a swinging third strike to end the inning.

UCSB sent 12 batters to the plate in its half of the seventh, scoring six runs against three Irvine pitchers. The rally included a leadoff double by Tommy Jew, a run-scoring double by Marcos Castañon, a two-run double by Williams and a pair of bases loaded walks by Alonzo Garcia, the third pitcher of the inning. 

Irvine scored one run in the seventh, eighth and ninth, but could get no closer than 9-4.

Williams, a freshman, had the best game of his young career as he finished 4-for-5 with a double, two runs scored and a pair of RBI. O'Connor also had a career-high in its, finishing 3-for-5, including a double. Castañon, Cohen and Eric Yang each added a pair of hits on the day. Yang also walked twice.

Lincoln (2-1) won for the second consecutive start, going 5.2 innings while allowing four hits, and one run. A trio of UCSB relievers tossed the final 3.1 innings to close things out. 

The Gauchos and Anteaters will play the final game of their three-game Big West series on Sunday afternoon. First pitch is slated for 1:00 p.m. and the game will be available on WatchESPN.