UC SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A mixture of great pitching and long balls granted No. 27 UC Santa Barbara the series-opening win over Cal Poly 4-1. Michael McGreevy flirted with the all-time strikeout record fanning a career-high 15 Mustangs, and four different Gauchos notched solo home runs.
UCSB now boasts a 27-12 overall record with an 18-7 Big West mark, while Cal Poly falls to 19-8 and 9-12.
McGreevy (6-1) tossed eight innings of work for the Gauchos and picked up his sixth win of the season. The sophomore stud allowed a season-low two hits and no walks in what was a tight pitcher's duel until the later innings. After giving up a solo home run in the top of the second, only one more baserunner would reach for the rest of the evening. Only one player in Cal Poly's Tate Samuelson was able to reach base on McGreevy.
Coming in for the save in the ninth was UCSB's hottest bullpen arm, Carter Benbrook, who retired the final three batters to earn his team-best third save of the season.
All five runs scored came by way of the solo home run with Samuelson giving the Mustangs the early lead in the second inning.
It wasn't until the fifth that UCSB cracked the scoreboard as Bryce Willits went yard for just the second time this season to even things at 1-1. The go-ahead and game-winning homer came off of the hot bat of Christian Kirtley in the seventh who has now hit three bombs in the last two games.
In the eighth inning came the fireworks and the insurance as Jordan Sprinkle and Cole Cummings, the two batters at the top of the order, cranked back-to-back home runs to give UCSB a 4-1 lead and soon after, the game. They are the first Gauchos to notch back-to-back homers since Dempsey Grover and Colton Burns in 2017.
The Gauchos will look for the series win in tomorrow's doubleheader. First pitch is set for 1:00 PM.
Article courtesy of UCSB Athletics.