Gauchos Keep Season Alive With 9-4 Victory Over Binghamton

Kyle Johnson and Blake Klassen Power UCSB to Victory

UCSB catcher John Newman Jr. beats a throw to home plate. | Credit: Lily Chubb

Michael Gutierrez delivered a quality start, and the UCSB baseball team staved off elimination with a 9-4 victory over Binghamton at the Stanford Regional on Saturday afternoon.

Kyle Johnson and Blake Klassen homered in the second and third innings respectively as the Gauchos jumped all over Binghamton starting pitcher Ryan Bryggman and cruised to victory.

“Nice bounce back effort after yesterday. Michael established the strike zone early, was aggressive and set the tone for us,” Checketts said. “I thought we did a good job of not chasing and got some big swings off.”

John Newman Jr. led off the top of the second inning with a walk for UCSB and Johnson followed with a rocket to right field that easily sailed over the fence. 

Later in the top of the third inning, Christian Kirtley hit a ground ball to third base with two outs and a bad throw to first allowed Jason Willow to score, increasing the UCSB lead to 3-0.

Bryggman continued to struggle in the top of the third inning as he hit the first two UCSB batters he faced, Nick Vogt and Newman Jr. Jordan Sprinkle walked with one out to load the bases and Broc Mortensen followed with a single that scored Vogt, increasing the UCSB lead to 4-0.

A sac fly by Jason Willow brought home Newman Jr. to put the Gauchos ahead 5-0. With two outs and runners on second and third  Klassen delivered the knockout blow, a three-run homer that narrowly stayed fair down the right field line.

“I was looking to see if it was fair or foul,” Klassen said. “It was a little change up, down and in. I saw the ball and I hit it.”

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Gutierrez was in a groove mixing his pitches in the early innings, but Binghamton broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Nick Roselli led off the inning with a single to left field and Evin Sullivan followed with a double to left field. The next batter, Devan Bade, grounded out to shortstop, scoring Roselli. Andrew Tan extended the rally with a single to left field that brought home Sullivan and cut the Binghamton deficit to 8-2.

UCSB tacked on a run in the top of the sixth inning when Jason Willow doubled to left field on a high chopper over the Binghamton third baseman’s head and scored on a sacrifice fly by Christian Kirtley, increasing the UCSB lead.

Michael Gutierrez struck out eight batters in seven plus innings on the mound. | Credit: Lily Chubb

Gutierrez came out to pitch in the bottom of the eight inning despite being over 100 pitches and failed to record an out as a Logan Haskell double was followed by a Roselli homerun, cutting the Binghamton deficit to 9-4.

Michael Rice came out of the UCSB bullpen and was dominant in relief, holding Binghamton hitless in his two innings of relief.

The Gauchos will face off against either Stanford or Texas State in another elimination game on Sunday at 1 p.m.

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