Gauchos Rout Cal 17-7 in First Ever Night Game at Caesar Uyesaka

Christian Kirtley
Christian Kirtley

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—The first night under the new lights at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium went to the UC Santa Barbara baseball team (3-1) as the Gauchos routed Cal (1-3) 17-7 for their third straight win.  The bats got going in UCSB's home opener with the team outhitting the Golden Bears 16-11 and collecting all 17 runs in four straight innings.

"It was really nice to get the offense going tonight," head coach Andrew Checketts said. "We know we have good offensive players and it was great to see them let loose a little Today. We are different this year so we knew we had to plan around the assets we ha and play to their strengths."

The Golden Bears got on the board early scoring one in the 1st inning and extended their lead to 3-0 ion the 3rd on the back of timely hitting and smart base running, but the Gauchos were quick to answer in the bottom of the inning.

Freshman Nick Vogt stepped to the plate for the first time in his young career and did not disappoint collecting a solid double down the left field line to get his team going. Sophomore Steele Ledford moved Vogt over to third on a bunt single.  A walk would load the bases and two runners would find their home on an error and a walk to cut the Cal lead to 3-2.

Three more would cross for the Golden Bears in the top of third, extending their lead to 6-2, but the Gauchos were poised to come through in their home opener. Over the next three innings the Gauchos gashed Cal for 15 unanswered runs including an eight-run 5th inning. Eight of the nine batters in the lineup picked up a 5th inning run.

Small ball was the name of the game with the Gauchos earning runs and extending innings on well placed bunts and heads up base running.

The bottom of the line up was especially strong for UCSB with Vogt hitting eight and Ledford turning the lineup over. They went a combined 6-for-8 with two doubles, five runs, and three RBI. Ledford had a career day going 4-for-5.

Five different players had a multi-RBI game including Ledford (2), Cole Cummings (3), Marcos Castanon (3), Christian Kirtley (3), and McClain O'Connor (2), who went 3-for-5 with two runs.

Cal added one run with two outs in the top of the 9th to end the game at 17-7.

Freshman pitcher JD Callahan made his NCAA debut in the third inning coming in to toss four innings and pick up the win. He got the Gauchos back on track allowing zero runs, zero hits, and just one walk, while striking out six.

"We were really excited about the turnout we had tonight in the stands," Checketts said. "There has been so much effort from a lot of people to make this stadium what it is today. Our AD, donors, staff, and fans have all done such a good job and it was an incredible feeling to be out there tonight. To get a big win was so rewarding for everyone."

The Gauchos and Golden Bears will meet again in April for the rematch, but next weekend UCSB welcomes Abilene Christian for a three-game series.