Bret Lopez scored BYU's first run in a 9-5 loss at No. 14 UC Santa Barabara. (Photo by BYU Photo/Todd Wakefield)
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – No. 14 UC Santa Barbara cruised to a 9-5 victory Monday afternoon over BYU baseball.
Gaucho junior lefty Andrew Vasquez, a towering 6-foot-6 former freshman All-American pitcher, baffled the Cougars, striking out five in six innings. Vasquez got the win and UCSB improved to 23-8.
The Cougars rallied for three runs in the ninth inning off a bases-loaded triple by Eric Urry down the right-field line. Dillon Robinson singled in Urry to narrow the margin to 9-5.
The next best news of the day for BYU was that its junior pitcher Jeff Barker was named West Coast Conference pitcher of the week for leading the team to a 1-0 upset last week over No. 24 Pepperdine. But neither the Cougar pitching corps nor their batters could slow UCSB much in this non-conference loss.
“They are really athletic,” BYU coach Mike Littlewood said. “They don’t strike out a whole lot. They look to run and are really aggressive. We are a tired team right now, but we fought back. You can’t wait until the ninth inning. We need to do a better job of putting on pressure.”
BYU managed singles in the second, fifth and sixth innings by CJ Latham, Dillon Robinson and Bret Lopez, respectively. Then Lopez scored off Bronson Larsen’s two-out double off the wall to break the drought, trailing 9-1.
“They can run one through nine,” Lopez said of the Gauchos. “They kept putting up runs and it was a hard to get out of the hole.”
Among the frustrated Cougars was senior co-captain Brock Whitney who saw his 13-game hitting streak end.
The Cougars, now 14-24 overall and 5-10 in league action, ready to host Loyola Marymount in a return to West Coast Conference play on Thursday at 6 p.m., starting a three-game series with the Lions.