A six-run first inning set the tone, as the UCSB baseball team dispatched rival Cal Poly 12-3 to conclude a four-game series on Sunday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
It was a crucial game for UCSB after the two teams split their double header on Saturday.The Gauchos hope to track down first-place UC Irvine with few precious games remaining on the conference slate. Visiting Cal Poly has played UCSB tough in recent years and the Gauchos did not take winning the series for granted.
“Anybody that can go back in history knows that they’ve had their way with us for a few years now so it’s nice to turn the tide and win the series,” said UCSB baseball coach Andrew Checketts. “Obviously it was a battle all weekend with a lot of really close games until today.”
UCSB first baseman Bryce Willits tripled to right-center field with two outs and the bases loaded in the bottom of the first inning, giving the Gauchos a 3-0 lead.
The next batter, Steele Ledford sent a fly ball to deep right field that was dropped by Nick DiCarlo, which brought home Willits increasing the UCSB lead to 4-0. Back-to-back doubles to left field by Jason Willow and Gianni Bloom put two more runs on the board for UCSB resulting in a 6-0 lead.
James Callahan (3-2) delivered a quality start for UCSB, surrendering just three runs in seven innings on the mound. Jorge Arrellano pitched two scoreless innings in relief.
UCSB left fielder Broc Mortensen and second baseman Jason Willow homered in the fourth and fifth innings respectively. Mortensen played football at Cal Poly his freshman year before switching to baseball and transferring to UCSB after a pit stop at Cuesta college. He leads the Gauchos with ten home runs this season.
The Gauchos (29-13 overall, 20-8 Big West) will host first-place UC Irvine next weekend.