CBB: Gauchos sweep Davis; playoff fate in hands of committee

Joey Epperson had three hits, leading UCSB to a victory over UC Davis.

Leadoff hitter Joey Epperson had three hits in UCSB’s 6-3 win over UC Davis.

DAVIS – UCSB clubbed five doubles and five different Gauchos drove in runs on the way to a regular season-ending 6-3 win over UC Davis on Saturday.

The victory gave UCSB its third sweep of the season and a 34-17-1 overall record to close out the regular season. The team finished with a 12-12 Big West campaign. UC Davis ends the season with a record of 23-31, 7-17.

UCSB will now wait until Monday to see if it’s selected for the NCAA Tournament. The Selection Show will be broadcasted live at 9 a.m. PDT on ESPNU.

Senior left fielder Joey Epperson finished his stellar senior season with a bang, collecting a game-best three hits from the leadoff position.

However, he was one of the few Gauchos to not record a double against the Aggies, as Robby Nesovic, Tyler Kuresa, Scott Quinlan, Woody Woodward, and Ryan Clark all claimed two-baggers.

UCSB starter Shane Bieber delivered one of the best starts of his freshman year, allowing just two runs on six hits in six innings of work. He struck out a pair and walked none in the outing. Bieber earned the win on the day, pushing his record to 3-4 on the year.

As was often the case in 2014, junior lefty Greg Mahle and sophomore closer Dillon Tate teamed up to shut down the opposition the rest of the way. Mahle allowed a single run over the seventh and eighth innings, while Tate recovered from Friday’s adventurous outing with a hitless ninth that clinched the win. Tate earned his 12th save of the season, ending the year with the second-most single-season saves in program history.

For the third time in the series, UCSB was the first to draw blood. Quinlan and Woodward got the Gauchos on the board first in the second inning with consecutive doubles, but that 1-0 lead was short-lived as UCD’s Seth Batty cashed in a run on an RBI groundout after Austin March tripled to lead off the bottom of the third.

UCSB went up for good on a Quinlan sac fly in the fourth that scored Nesovic, who had doubled earlier in the frame.

The Gauchos then broke it open with a three-run sixth. Clark did the most damage with a two-run double down the left field line before Epperson plated another with an opposite-field RBI single.

UC Davis made it interesting by scoring single runs in the sixth and eighth innings to bring the score to 5-3. But an RBI double from Kuresa in the top half of the ninth and a shutdown inning from Tate in the bottom half ensured the win for the Gauchos.

With the regular season over, UCSB now looks to the postseason. Compared to last year’s regional-reaching team, the 2014 Gauchos have a better winning percentage (.667 to .597) and RPI (51 to 57).