SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—No. 8 UC Santa Barbara dropped game one of its season opening series with Santa Clara Friday night, as the Broncos scored eight runs in the middle innings to take it 8-4. Senior shortstop McClain O'Connor was a bright spot for the Gauchos going 2-for-3 with two doubles and three RBI.
Despite outhitting the Broncos 9-8, UCSB struggled with timeliness leaving nine on base while Santa Clara notched two multi-run home runs and scored three runs off of Gaucho mistakes.
The Gauchos broke the scoreless tie in the bottom of the third as Mason Eng hit a lead-off single and was brought straight in on an RBI double by O'Connor. Jordan Sprinkle was next to bat ripping an RBI double of his own down the left field line to give his team a 2-0 lead.
O'Connor would strike again in the bottom of the third to help his team regain the lead at 3-2 with a sac-fly to center that drove in Jason Willow.
Down 3-2 the Broncos tacked on three runs in back-to-back innings to take the lead 8-3. The Gauchos threatened to score late, garnering five hits in the final four innings, but only managed to score one. It was yet another RBI double for O'Connor who knocked in Cole Cummings for the final run of the game. Santa Clara would shut out the final three innings to take it 8-4.
Four different Gaucho pitchers took the mound in the season opener, including Cory Lewis, who had an impressive three innings to end the game. The freshman faced the minimum nine batters and struck out three. Zach Torra earned the start pitching 3.2 innings and allowing two runs to score while striking out five.
UCSB will look for its first win tomorrow in game two of the series. Righty Michael McGreevy is set to face Santa Clara's Freddie Erlandson.