CBB: Pettibone throws blanks at Northridge

UCSB starter Austin Pettibone tossed a four-hit shutout to lead the Gauchos to a 6-0 Victory over the CSU Northridge Matadors Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

With the shutout, Pettibone now has three complete games in his collegiate career. One of his other complete games was also against CSU Northridge last year, and is now 3-0 against them lifetime. Pettibone improved his record for this season to 3-1 with his dominant outing.

Needing just 85 pitches to get 27 outs, Pettibone threw a first pitch strike to 22 of the 30 batters he faced and retired all but one batter with four pitches or less. The Yorba Linda, Calif. native commanded the corners of the zone all day, leading to five strikeouts.

Pettibone now has 21 wins in his UCSB career, tied for the fourth-most in program history. His four hits against tied a season-low for fewest hits by an opponent.

Austin Pettibone blanks Cal State Northridge.

Austin Pettibone blanks Cal State Northridge.

UC Santa Barbara improved to 29-14-1, 9-11 and extended their winning streak to three games with the victory. Cal State Northridge dropped to 17-32, 5-12 with the loss.

Left fielder Joey Epperson opened the scoring for the Gauchos by smashing an opposite-field two-run home run to right field to give UCSB a 2-0 lead. The UC Santa Barbara offense provided plenty of insurance in the eighth inning, tacking on four runs to increase the lead to 6-0 and crushed any hopes of a CSU Northridge comeback.

Epperson finished with a 2 for 4 performance with an RBI double in addition to his home run. Second baseman Woody Woodward joined Epperson with a 2 for 4 performance. Shortstop Peter Maris and designated hitter Robby Nesovic added in RBI hits as the Gauchos pulled away in the eighth inning.

The Gauchos defense made several contributions behind Pettibone to assist in his shutout. Maris made a sensational play at shortstop, diving to his right and getting up quickly to throw out the runner by half a step. Right fielder Cameron Newell followed up Maris by making a sliding catch towards the right field line to make the first out of the inning. First baseman Tyler Kuresa continued the Gauchos’ strong defensive play by diving to snag a line drive towards the first base line. For good measure, Woodward ran all the way from his second base position to make a full extension dive in foul territory to catch a fading pop-up to end the eighth inning.

Jerry Keel started on the mound for the Matadors, allowing four runs, three earned, in 7.0 innings. Despite pitching well with a 3.47 ERA, he still remains winless as he took the loss to drop to 0-9 on the season.

UCSB and CSU Northridge face off Sunday afternoon as the Gauchos go for the sweep. First pitch begins at 1 p.m.