CBB: Kentucky snaps UCSB’s season-opening win streak

Despite clubbing a season-high 14 hits in Sunday’s series finale with Kentucky, the sixteenth-ranked UC Santa Barbara baseball team was tagged with its first loss of the season after the Wildcats’ offense erupted in a 12-7 decision.

BOX SCORE

The loss snapped what was the longest winning streak in the nation at nine games, dating back to last season, for the Gauchos. The squad’s record moved to 6-1 on the year. Kentucky, which staved off the sweep, improved to 3-4.

Senior left fielder Cameron Newell continued his hot week with a three-hit, one run performance. Junior DH Robby Nesovic joined Newell in the three-hit club while also driving in a run on an eighth inning single.

Senior second baseman Woody Woodward led the team with two RBIs, both coming on a bases-loaded single in the third inning. He was also hit by a pitch in the fifth inning. It was the 37th time in his four-year career that he was struck by a pitch, moving him solely into first place all-time in program history. He had entered the year tied with Chris Malec (2002-05) in the UCSB annals.

As potent as the Gaucho offense was, UK’s bats awakened after scoring just three runs through the first two games of the series.

The entire front half of the Wildcat lineup had days to remember, led by right fielder Storm Wilson, who went 4-5 with three runs scored. Leadoff hitter Kyle Barrett reached base three times, while each UK hitter in the No. 3-5 spots of the lineup had two hit performances, including second baseman JaVon Shelby, who kick-started the Kentucky assault with a three-run homer just over the left field fence in the top of the first inning, the first home run allowed to an opponent by the Gauchos this season.

After that big fly, UK converted a bases-loaded, one-out situation in the third inning into a three-spot, with the most damage coming on first baseman Evan White’s two-run single up the middle. A Barrett RBI single in the fourth made the score 7-2 and, after the frame, led to the end of the day for UCSB starter Justin Jacome, who was tagged with the loss after allowing four earned runs and seven hits with one walk and four strikeouts in four full innings pitched.

The teams traded punches over the next few innings, with Kentucky taking a 12-4 lead into the bottom of the eighth. UCSB looked like it could potentially rally itself back into the game at that point, with the first four batters of the inning reaching, resulting in a run and a bases-loaded, nobody out scenario. But from that point, a tailor-made 4-6-3 double play ball manufactured by UK lefty reliever Zach Logue put the kibosh on the UCSB opportunity with just two runs coming across.

UK reliever Dylan Dwyer picked up the win on the day, allowing a single unearned run in 3 1/3 innings pitched. Lefty starter Logan Salow surrendered three earned runs in 3 1/3 innings himself.

The Gauchos bullpen combined to allow just one earned run over five innings. Redshirt freshman righty Brandon Luper had the most impressive statistical performance, going 1-2-3 in the ninth inning with a strikeout and a pair of routine groundouts.

UCSB has a big week lined up, traveling to face reigning WAC Champ Pepperdine on Tuesday afternoon before welcoming Paci-12 powerhouse Oregon to Caesar Uyesaka for a three-game set this weekend. First pitch on Tuesday is scheuled for 2:00 p.m., and Gerry Fall – The Voice of the Gauchos – will be in Malibu with the call starting at 1:40 p.m.

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