Capito provides Gauchos with a big lift

UCSB's Nick Capito help the Gauchos avoid the sweep by getting the victory in a spot start.

You could say that UCSB senior Nick Capito was put on the spot on Sunday.

The left-hander found out that morning that he would be the one starting vs. San Jose State, rather than Greg Davis, who had scratched his cornea.

And, Capito was on the spot because he was tasked with stopping a Spartans team that had scored 16 runs on 32 hits in the first two games of the series. Plus, the Whittier native was now the one trying to stop a Gaucho three-game losing streak.

All Capito did was allow one unearned run on two hits in 5.2 innings as the Gauchos won, 4-1.

Mark Haddow had three RBIs courtesy of a double and a triple while Sean Williams and Trevor Whyte had two hits apiece.

The Gauchos improve to 12-11 with the victory while SJSU falls to 19-8.

Capito (1-2) also kept himself out of potential big innings by picking off two baserunners as the Spartans’ only rally came in the first inning. It was his first victory since April 1, last season, when he pitched a complete game shutout vs. Sacramento State.

Craig Hertler opened the game with a single and moved to second on an errant pickoff throw by Capito. Jacob Valdez was then hit by a pitch and after SJSU scored six times in the first two innings on Saturday, you could forgive the Gauchos for thinking `Not again.’

Instead, Capito got a ground out, a fly out – which scored a run – and another ground out to end the threat.

Over the next four innings, Capito faced just one over the minimum.

UCSB backed their spot starter with three runs in the first inning as Haddow’s triple brought in Lance Roenicke and Sean Williams and Haddow scored on Whyte’s double. Four of UCSB’s eight hits went for extra bases.

Santa Barbara tacked on an insurance run in the fifth inning as Haddow hit what appeared to be a home run to dead center field, but it bounced off the top of the fence at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, scoring Williams.

Capito, who had already pitched twice in the week in relief, was aided by solid bullpen work from Matthew Brady, Bryce Uhrig and Nick Loredo.

Uhrig threw two innings, allowing just one hit while striking out two. Loredo earned his third save of the season with a strikeout in the ninth and got pinch-hitter Tim Quiery to bounce into a 4-6-3 double play.

UCSB has the week off before hosting Cal Poly in the Big West opener on Friday, April 8.