Saturday, March 16, 2019
What began as a hot start to the season has evolved into a historic winning streak for the UCSB baseball team.
The Gauchos defeated Cal Baptist 7-1 on Saturday afternoon for their 12th consecutive victory, matching the 1984 team for the longest winning streak in program history.
Current UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts borrowed a cooking analogy from former UCSB coach Bob Brontesma regarding the development of the team.
“You’ve got to have the right ingredients, you have to have the right timing of when to put them in and then you need to have the right temperature. I thought it was a great analogy,” Checketts said. “The ingredients are the players, the timing is how old they are and when they mature. The temperature is the environment and the culture piece of it.”
The on-field product of that preparation has been nothing short of dynamic as veterans Tommy Jew, Thomas Rowan, Armani Smith, Eric Yang and Tevin Mitchell make up the heart of a menacing lineup.
Redshirt sophomore Jack Dashwood got the start for UCSB on Saturday and his first pitch of the game was promptly blasted into the netting beyond the left field fence by Cal Baptist second basemen Luke Navigato.
Dashwood then pitched around a walk and hit batsmen to escape the inning with just the one run allowed. He would go on to shutdown Cal Baptist for the remainder of his outing and finished with one earned run and eight strike outs in 6 1/3 innings.
“He wasn’t super sharp early, but he was able to wiggle out of some jams. They’ve got some good hitters and he was able to hold their middle guys down,” Checketts said. “It’s maturity again. You’re talking about an older guy who has been there before.
“I think last year he gives up five (runs) and goes three (innings).”
UCSB answered in the bottom of the first inning as Mitchell reached based on an error by Cal Baptist center fielder Damon Keith, who dropped a seemingly routine fly ball. The next batter, Yang doubled down the left field line to score Mitchell and even the game at 1-1.
Walks by Jew and Jason Willow loaded the bases for Andrew Martinez with two outs. Martinez walked bringing home Yang and giving the Gauchos a 2-1 lead.
The Gauchos tacked on one run each in the third and fourth innings on a solo home run by Rowan and run-scoring single by Mitchell that that drove in Christian Kirtley, increasing the UCSB lead to 4-1.
Smith closed the scoring in the bottom of the fifth inning with two-run homer to right-center field that increased the UCSB lead to 7-1. The blast was Smith’s fourth homerun of the season and second in as many games.
“I’m just more relaxed then ever and just trying to trust my eyes and my vision and not trying to do too much,” Smith said. “It’s been working out pretty well lately.”
Kevin Chandler, Josh Candaua and Alex Patterson combined for 2 2/3 scoreless innings in relief to secure the victory.
The Gauchos (14-2 overall) will go for the three-game sweep Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m.