photo credit to Steve Coburn
GOLETA, Calif. --- UC Irvine returned to Big West play falling 11-3 to UCSB in a blustery Caesar Uyesaka Stadium Thursday afternoon.
The Anteaters (12-18, 1-3) and Gauchos (14-17) were tied, 1-1, entering the bottom of the fourth after they each brought around leadoff doubles. UCSB got a gift-hop single for Kenny Corey that eluded Christian Koss at second base helping extend the inning for Sam Cohen who made the 'Eaters made with a towering home run to right field to get the lead back for the Gauchos, 3-1.
UCSB never looked back pumping out four more runs in the in the fifth, all the while the wind blew all about the yard, helping at least one of the six singles that inning drop in pushing UCSB's advantage to 7-1.
The Anteaters reeled them back in with a pair of runs in the sixth bringing home runners on balls in the infield, but the Gauchos persisted with four more runs in the next two innings including a pair with two outs to run away with the 11-3 victory.
Noah Davis was the linchpin to UCSB's win pitching into the ninth inning for the first time this season allowing just two earned runs in 8.1 innings for his sixth win. Offensively, Colton Burns' four hits and three runs and Sam Cohen's four RBI were the top performers among the many as part of the 15-hit outburst.
The Anteaters got pockets of offense in two-hit games from Keston Hiura, Evan Cassolato, and Cole Kreuter. Hiura came in to score on each of his being knocked in by Alex Guenette each time. Jordan Bocko battled through an unfortunate pitching performance allowing six earned runs over 4.2 innings. He did strikeout four to up his team-leading total to 31, and did not issue a walk.
UCI's losing woes continue into a season-long seven-game losing streak and 13 losses in its last 14 games. Overall, the 'Eaters now stand at 12-18 and 1-3 in conference play with a chance still to win the series with another 3:00 p.m. game on Friday, April 14, with Louis Raymond and Kyle Nelson going up against each other.