Checketts Earns 300th Win; No. 21 Gauchos Split Doublehader

Checketts Earns 300th Win; No. 21 Gauchos Split Doublehader

FULLERTON, Calif.— No. 21 UCSB's head coach Andrew Checketts earned his 300th career win at the helm of the Gauchos Saturday afternoon, defeating Cal State Fullerton 11-4 to begin the doubleheader. The Titans would bounce back to take game two 4-1.

Checketts becomes just the fourth head coach in program history to reach the milestone.

Santa Barbara is now 11-6 overall and 2-1 to start conference play. Fullerton moves to 5-12 overall and 1-2 in the Big West. 

GAME ONE

In Saturday's opening game, the Gauchos finished strong to overcome a two-run deficit, reeling off nine unanswered to down the Titans 11-4.

UCSB enjoyed a 12-7 advantage in the hit department, including a season-best four home runs. It didn't take long for the fireworks to start, as Marcos Castanon and Broc Mortensen led off with consecutive homers to start the game.

The Gauchos' early momentum tapered off, as Fullerton answered with four runs in the second to take a 4-2 lead.

Castanon helped bring things back level in the top of the fifth, doubling to left center to bring home Christian Kirtley as well as the tying run from Cole Cummings.

After a scoreless sixth, UCSB would find paydirt in each of the final three innings. Cummings scored again in the seventh on a single by Mortensen to regain the advantage for the Gauchos at 5-4. 

Bryce Willits provided Santa Barbara with its third homer of the day to make it 6-4 in the next inning. He added a second RBI with a single in the top of the ninth, bringing Castanon home.

Leading 7-4 with the bases loaded, Steele Ledford stepped up to blast the Gauchos' first grand slam of the year and seal the win.

Sophomore pitcher Michael McGreevy (3-0) continued a solid start to the year, tallying a season-high 10 strikeouts and conceding three earned runs in a little more than six innings pitched.

GAME TWO

Going for it's sixth straight win in Saturday's second game, UCSB matched Fullerton 7-to-7 in hits, but was held to a single run in a 4-1 defeat.

Cummings and Zach Rodriguez led the way with two hits apiece. Marcos Costanon tallied an RBI to bring home Gianni Bloom in the top of the sixth. That cut what was a 2-0 Fullerton lead in half. 

However, the Titans responded with two more runs on back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the seventh.

The Gauchos found some life late, seeing three different runners on base in the ninth. Castanon opened the inning with a single through the left side and Nicolas Vogt reached on a walk. Kirtley also made it to first on a fielder's choice before a Gaucho pop up ended the game. 

In six innings pitched, Cory Lewis (1-1) accounted for more than half of UCSB's strikeouts with four. He gave up just four hits and no earned runs.

Castanon extended his hit streak to eight games and Cummings has still reached base safely in every game this season.