UCSB’s Vedo fans 12 Mustangs

Matt Vedo pitched 6.2 solid innings, striking out a season-high 12 batters, and UC Santa Barbara belted a pair of home runs in a 6-5 non-conference win over visiting Cal Poly on Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Vedo got off to shaky start, walking the first two batters of the game, but after a visit to the mound by head coach Andrew Checketts, the senior settled down in big way, striking out six in a row.

The game was scoreless into the top of the third when the Mustangs got on the board with a pair of runs. Denver Chavez started things off with a walk. After a fly out, Chavez stole second, but was still there one out later. A Mitch Haniger infield single moved Chavez to third base and then a sinlge by Jimmy Allen brought him home with the first run of the game. A double to center field by David Armendariz scored Haniger, but Allen was thrown out at the plate to end the inning.

UCSB got its offense cranked up in the bottom of the fourth, scoring four runs. Lance Roenicke was hit by a pitch to start things and he scored on back-to-back singles by Brandon Trinkwon and Ryan Palermo. Trinkwon scored to tie the game when Greg Mahle on a two-base throwing error by Cal Poly first baseman Tommy Pluschkell. The error moved Palermo to third. He scored on an infield single by Joey Wallace that also chased Mahle to third base. Mahle scored the final run of the inning when Wallace was thrown out at third on fielders choice.

The Gauchos padded their lead with single runs in the fifth and sixth, both via home runs. In the fifth, Palermo hit a hard drive to left field that just kept going, clearing the left field fence by about a foot. It was his second home run of the season. In the sixth, catcher Joe Winterburn cleared the left field fence by about 50 feet as he walloped his first home run of the year.

The Mustangs scored on an RBI single by Armendariz in the eighth, closing the gap to 6-3. Mahle, who started the game as the designated hitter, was summoned from the bullpen with the bases loaded. He got Chris Hoo to strike out looking and then induced Jordan Hadlock to hit into an inning ending double play.

Cal Poly made it interesting in the ninth, scoring two more runs. The first three batters reached. Chavez walked and Mike Miller and Tim Wise hit consecutive singles to bring him home. After Haniger flied out to center, Allen singled to left, scoring Miller and cutting the UCSB lead to 6-5. But the game ended with the next batter, Armendariz, grounded into a game-ending 6-4-3 double play.

The win improves Vedo’s record to 4-4 and the Gauchos’ record to 17-14. Mahle earned his team-leading fourth save of the year. The Mustangs drop to 20-11 and freshman starting pitcher Bryan Granger falls to 0-1.

UCSB returns to Big West play on Friday night when it travels to Long Beach State for a 7:00 p.m. game against the 49ers. The game will be played at Blair Field in Long Beach and can be heard live over the air on KZSB AM 1290 in Santa Barbara, or online at UCSBgauchos.com