Hornet pitchers stop Gauchos 3-2

After receiving a strong Friday afternoon start from senior pitcher Jesse Meaux, UCSB got a taste of its own medicine on Saturday, falling to the Sacramento State Hornets by a score of 3-2. Sacramento’s pitchers, starter Dallas Chadwick and relievers Andrew Galvan and Brandon Sandoval, held the Gauchos to 2 runs on 7 hits — their second-lowest run output of the season.

UCSB’s record fell to 4-4 while Sacramento State improved to 4-7.

Senior outfielder Ben Edelstein was the sole Gaucho to record multiple hits. He went 2-3 with 2 walks and 2 singles. In fact, all seven UCSB hits were singles — the second time this season that the Gauchos failed to record an extra-base hit. Senior first baseman Trevor Whyte and senior outfielder Mark Haddow both chipped in RBIs.

The first inning of the game was the polar opposite of the eight innings that would follow. The two teams traded runs in the first frame — a Thomas Paine sacrifice fly and Mark Haddow fielder’s choice produced the runs — and both pitchers ran up their pitch counts to the mid-30’s. UCSB’s junior starter Matt Vedo threw 35 pitches. Vedo’s pitch count was a problem all day, as he threw 105 pitches in 5 innings — the same amount Meaux threw in 8.1 innings the night before.

“He wasn’t throwing strike one as often as you would want,” said UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema, “but he kept us in the game, and that’s all you can ask of your starting pitcher.”

Despite Vedo’s short outing, he still held the Hornets to 2 runs while racking up six strikeouts. He was relieved by senior Nick Capito in the sixth inning while still on the hook for the loss. Capito pitched admirably, throwing three shutout innings in brisk fashion before he, as Brontsema put it, “made a mistake up in the zone” that led to the game-winning home run off the bat of Sacramento’s No. 9 hitter, shortstop Blake Miller.

The Gauchos mounted late rallies in both the eighth and ninth innings. In the eighth, UCSB had Mark Haddow on third base with only one out. With the infield in, designated hitter John Vaccaro laced a line drive that was snagged at the shoe-strings of Sacramento second-baseman David Del Grande. A Ryan Palermo strikeout ended the threat.

In the ninth, freshman infielder Brandon Trinkwon and Edelstein set the table with a walk and single respectively. A Trevor Whyte single reduced their deficit to one run with the tying run in scoring position. However, Haddow was unable to push him in, ending the game on a pop-out to first base.

Asked what was needed to come out on top next time, Brontsema said “we just need some clutch hits, some two-out hits. We pitched well and we got some hits, we just couldn’t get a big hit when we needed it.”

The Gauchos and Hornets will play the rubber match of their three-game series on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.