Gauchos pounded by Long Beach in series finale

Branden Pinder pitched five perfect innings and Long Beach State belted three home runs in the first four innings on Saturday afternoon as the visiting 49ers defeated UCSB, 6-2, in the finale of a three-game Big West series.

Pinder (3-4) retired the first 15 batters he faced, but Ryan Palermo opened sixth inning with a double and scored one out later on groundout by Ben Edelstein give the Gauchos their first run and make the score 6-1.

UCSB’s most dangerous threat came one inning later.

Derek Eligio started the seventh with a double down the left field line. Sean Williams then lofted a fly ball to right field. Long Beach right fielder Jeff McNeil raced back to the track but the ball glanced off his glove and Willams went into second with a double. Eligio, who held up thinking the ball might be caught, trotted into third base.

After Mark Haddow popped up, Trevor Whyte walked to load the bases and Joe Wallace was hit by a Pinter offering, bringing Eligio home with Santa Barbara’s second run and bringing 49ers’ coach Troy Buckley out of the dugout to summon reliever Kyle Friedrichs. On a 1-1 pitch, Friedrichs induced Ryan Palermo to ground into an inning-end 5-4-3 double play, ending the inning and the last Gaucho threat.

Long Beach scored its first two runs in the first inning. The first tally was manufactured and the second came on a home run to right centerfield off the bat of Ino Patron.

Patron wasn’t finished. In the third inning, with two runners on, he launched a Matt Vedo (3-5) pitch over the right field fence, giving the 49ers a 5-0 lead.

The first batter of the fourth inning was the last batter that Vedo would face. Brennan Metzger, robbed of a home run by Wallace circus catch on Friday, hit a 2-0 pitch over Wallace’s head and the left field fence on Saturday giving his team a 6-0 lead.

Nick Capito replaced Vedo and hurled 4.0 innings of shutout ball. Bryce Uhrig, Kevin Gelinas and Nick Loredo followed Capito and combined for two more shutout innings. Capito has now allowed just one earned run in his last 23.1 innings of work and the Gauchos’ bullpen has not given up a run in its last 16.1 innings.

The loss drops UCSB to 17-17 overall and 4-5 in the Big West Conference. Long Beach State improves to 19-18 overall and 6-6 in league play.