STOCKTON – Marc Venning made sure to celebrate his 22nd birthday in a big way by clubbing a pair of doubles and driving in three runs as UC Santa Barbara defeated Pacific, 9-2 on Saturday night.
Venning had a run-scoring double to give UCSB its first run of the game as part of a six-run fourth inning and he scored on Lance Roenicke’s two-run double moments later. Brandon Trinkwon hit a two-run double and the Gauchos were in control of the game.
Although Pacific rallied for a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth inning, Gaucho starter Austin Pettibone had the best start of his young career. The freshman from Yorba Linda, Calif. went 7.0 innings and allowed just two runs – one earned – with three strikeouts to improve to 6-2.
Venning was the lone player to enjoy a multi-hit game as part of the Gauchos’ 11-hit attack against seven Tigers pitchers, but every UCSB starter had at least one hit and all but two reached base multiple times.
Venning, a junior from Rancho Palos Verdes, Calif., had a two-out, two-run single in the seventh that plated Greg Mahle and Ryan Palermo and gave the Gauchos an 8-2 lead.
Joey Wallace’s first triple of the season scored Trinkwon from first in the eighth for the final tally.
While Pacific had nine hits off Pettibone, the freshman right-hander manuevered through the Tigers lineup deftly and worked his way out of jams. After UOP scored twice in the fourth, the Tigers still had runners on first and third with one out. But Pettibone struck out Tyger Pederson and got Taylor Murphy to fly out to end the threat.
In the fifth Pacific had runners on second and third with two outs, but Pettibone induced No. 3 batter Dustin Torchio to hit a soft line drive to second base to end the inning.
UCSB, 20-17 overall and 6-5 in the Big West, go for the series sweep against the Tigers (11-26, 1-7) on Sunday with first pitch scheduled for 1 p.m. The Gauchos will throw LHP Zak Edgington (1-3, 3.16 ERA) against UOP’s RHP Mike Hager (3-2, 4.22 ERA).