CBB: Jacome gets plenty of support; Gauchos win 7-2

Eight of nine starters recorded a hit for No. 12 UC Santa Barbara and starting pitcher Justin Jacome allowed just two runs while pitching into the ninth inning as the Gauchos clinched their four-game series against visiting Fresno State with a 7-2 win on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

It was a true team effort for UCSB (22-7), as only senior second baseman Woody Woodward (2-5, two RBIs) recorded multiple hits. Fresno State (16-16) actually opened the scoring for the day with two runs in the top of the third, but the Gauchos responded by plating runs in four consecutive innings.

Jacome pitched 8 1/3 innings to earn his team-best fifth win in six decisions, scattering seven hits while walking one and striking out four. Sophomore center fielder Andrew Calica reached twice on the day, extending his reach-base streak to 29 games.

UCSB has now won five straight and nine of its last 10 games.

The Bulldogs looked to be in business in that third inning, as they received a single and double to lead off the inning to put two runners in scoring position with nobody out. However, Jacome limited the damage thanks to some help from his defense.

Fresno St. cashed in one runner on an RBI groundout, and then looked to be in line for a big inning when shortstop Ryan Dobson stroked a run-scoring double into the left-center field gap.

UCSB left fielder Billy Fredrick, in his first career start in the field, then made the defensive play of the game by fielding a Taylor Tempel single through the left side on the ensuing play, firing a perfect cutoff throw to third baseman Peter Maris, who relayed to catcher Campbell Wear in time to retire Dobson. Maris then made a nice snag of a Taylor Ward line drive to end the rally.

That two-run frame seemed to light a fire under the Gauchos, who immediately proceeded to get those runs back.

Starting with freshman shortstop Clay Fisher, three straight UCSB batters singled to open the bottom of the third and load the bags. Woodward then came up with a clutch hit, swatting a double into the right field corner to score a pair and tie the contest at 2-2. Junior DH Robby Nesovic then put the Gauchos up for good with a sacrifice fly during the next at-bat.

UCSB then pounced on Fresno mistakes to score single runs in the fourth and fifth. Junior first baseman Dalton Kelly scored in the former on a wild pitch after tripling, then Nesovic came around to score on a sac fly after walking and advancing to third on a two-base throwing error by Ward, the Fresno State catcher.

Nesovic capped off his three-RBI day with a two-run double into the left-center gap in the sixth.

While UCSB’s bats were warming up, so too was Jacome, who was outstanding besides that lull in the third inning. He retired the first six batters of the game in order, and then bore down after being staked to a lead. He faced the minimum amount of batters in innings five through eight, including a streak of 10 consecutive Bulldogs retired.

With the game in hand, freshman hurler Alex Garcia was inserted to the game in the ninth, and the right-hander responded by striking out both the batters he faced to close out the game.

UCSB goes for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon, with sophomore righty Shane Bieber (4-2, 2.10) toeing the rubber. He will be opposed by southpaw Anthony Arias (1-0, 6.05), with first pitch scheduled for 2:00 p.m.