SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—The Gauchos collected their fifth straight win Saturday night behind an incredible performance from starting pitcher Zach Torra who collected 13 strikeouts in six innings of work. UCSB (5-1) coasted past Abilene Christian (4-3) in the second game of the weekend series defeating the Wildcats 6-1.
Torra (2-0), who gave the Gauchos the first win of the season a week ago, came through once again earning his second NCAA win Saturday evening. He allowed just two hits and a run to compliment his 13 K performance that fell just three short of the UCSB record. A medley of Gaucho pitchers followed him on the night and collectively got the final nine outs and only allowed two more hits.
"[Torra] was outstanding," head coach Andrew Cheketts said. "He had a good fastball going in the zone and he was landing his breaking ball when he needed it. He really did a nice job moving it around and creating some swings."
Senior shortstop McClain O'Connor was another huge factor for the Gaucho defense making countless big plays on grounders hit his way to help keep Wildcats off the bases.
Santa Barbara had another sound offensive outing as well winning the hit battle 11-4. Junior second baseman Marcos Castanon had yet another solid game going 2-for-4 with two RBI and a home run.
"Marcos is a real middle of the order hitter and he has turned into that for us," Checketts said. "He has become such a mature hitter and I think he is being rewarded for that."
O'Connor got it going for the Gauchos leading off the bottom of the first with single on a full count and quickly found himself on second base after a wild pitch. Castanon then stepped to the plate and continued his incredible week roping an RBI single to put his team up 1-0.
Another run came in the very next inning with junior Jason Willow breaking out for a double and then stealing third to move over to within 90 feet of the team's second run. He would cross on a well struck sac-fly by freshman Nick Vogt to give UCSB the 2-0 advantage.
The sole run for ACU came in the third, but UCSB answered quickly n the next inning scoring on heads-up base running to make it 3-1.
Up 4-1 in the eighth inning, Castanon struck a no-doubter over the left field wall, his third of the season. Junior catcher Gianni Bloom capped off the Gaucho scoring efforts with an RBI single a few at-bats later giving UCSB the 6-1 victory.
"Good pitching, solid defense, and timely hitting. That's the recipe for good baseball," said Checketts.
The final game of the series with ACU is set for tomorrow at noon.