CBB: Gauchos offensive surge dismantles LMU

LOS ANGELES – Thanks to a 10-run outburst in the fourth inning and home runs from junior first baseman Dalton Kelly and freshman infielder Austin Bush, thirteenth-ranked UC Santa Barbara soundly defeated host Loyola Marymount 18-4 in Tuesday’s midweek contest at Page Stadium.


The eruption with the bats set or tied a number of offensive milestones for the Gauchos (17-6) under fourth-year head coach Andrew Checketts.

The team’s 18 runs against LMU (13-11) were tied for the most in a game under Checketts, while their 10-run fourth was the second time scoring 10 or more runs in a single inning (Apr. 6, 2013). It was the second time in the past week that the team recorded 20 or more hits after the team had not done so once previously under Checketts.

It was also the first time since 2012 that the team recorded double-digit runs in three consecutive games, and their 45 runs over the past three contests are the most for such a stretch since May 20-26, 2006 (also 45).

All 15 batters to step to the plate for the Gauchos on Tuesday night reached base at least once, with all but pinch-hitter Billy Fredrick – who reached on a walk and later scored – recording a hit.

Senior left fielder Cameron Newell and junior third baseman led the Gauchos offensively with matching lines, going 3-5 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Kelly, junior DH Robby Nesovic, and senior second basemanPeter Maris all recorded multi-hit days as well.

On the other side of the coin, the Lions’ pitching staff endured a rough day, with all five pitchers who entered the game allowing at least three earned runs. Starter Cory Abbott (0-1) received the loss after allowing four earned runs in three innings.

Kelly opened the scoring on the day in the second inning with his team-leading third home run of the year, connecting for a one-out, opposite field shot off Abbott.

The Gauchos then reeled off their biggest offensive inning in two years in the fourth, terrorizing Abbott as well as relivers Tyler Cohen and Kevin Glomb.

Newell’s leadoff double kicked off a stretch that saw seven consecutive Gauchos reach base. A walk to Kelly after Newell had already scored spelled the end of the day for Abbott, but Cohen fared little better, walking UCSB catcher Campbell Wear before allowing three consecutive hits leading to four runs, highlighted by Clark’s two-run double down the end of the line.

At that point, Glomb entered the game and recorded the first out of the inning against the initial batter he faced, but then bookmarked consecutive RBI singles with walks, leading to three more runs for the Gauchos. Maris capped off the rally with a two-run single into left field.

The Gauchos weren’t tapped out however, with two runs coming across on a Luke Swenson triple the very next frame. Bush added insult to injury in the ninth inning. After narrowly missing out on his first career home this past weekend, the 6-6, 265-pound first baseman jacked one deep over the right-center field pence to plate Fredrick.

With plenty of cushion room, Checketts was able to get valuable innings for the UCSB bullpen. Junior rightyConnor Baits, making his first start of the year and third of his career, earned the win in the controlled start after allowing two earned runs over four full innings.

Freshman lefty Kyle Nelson had a solid outing, as he went without allowing a hit over his first two innings. His appearance was marred by a home run in his third and final inning, but that was the only hit he allowed and he still struck out a batter per inning.

Freshman right-handers Chris Clements and Alex Garcia added scoreless innings to close out the contest.

UCSB will open up conference play this weekend as they welcome the Long Beach State Dirtbags to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for a three-game set. Junior righty Dillon Tate will take the ball in the opener, scheduled for 3:00 p.m. on Friday.

Former UCSB infielder Chris Malec, a cancer survivor who provided one of the signature moments in UCSB Baseball history with a grand slam the day after he returned to the team following chemotherapy treatments in 2005, will throw out the first pitch before Saturday’s contest.