UCSB Baseball: Gauchos Homer Their Way to Regional Final

UC Santa Barbara baseball wins against USD on June 2, 2024 (courtesy)
UC Santa Barbara baseball wins against USD on June 2, 2024 (courtesy)

The No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Baseball team took the lead early and held it in Sunday’s elimination game, defeating San Diego, 4-2. Mike Gutierrez pitched six innings to earn the win, with Jonah Sebring and Ivan Brethowr launching a two-run home run each to power the offense. Cole Tryba nailed down the save with two innings of no-hit relief.

“Mike (Gutierrez) came out and landed that first blow on the defensive side of things by getting in the strike zone to get us that first zero,” Checketts said. “Did enough offensively, couple big swings, so good for our guys.”

Gutierrez looked his usual veteran self the first time through the Torero order, allowing just one baserunner after a two-out first-inning single from WCC Player of the Year Jakob Christian. He allowed a second single as the lineup turned over in the third but otherwise cruised through the first three innings with a trio of K’s.

It helped that the Gaucho bats got their starter some early run support. After Aaron Parker knocked a single to lead off the second inning, Jonah Sebring got the scoring started with the first postseason homer of his career, sending a slider out to left field, well over the scoreboard. LeTrey McCollum, still nursing a hamstring injury from Friday, gutted out a lead-off double to start the Gaucho half of the third, then Ivan Brethowr rewarded him with an easy stroll home. Brethowr broke out of his slump in a big way, sending his first hit of the regional 438 feet to left field for a two-run homer, doubling the Santa Barbara lead.

McCollum knocked a one-out single in the fourth then limped another 90 feet to reach second on Brethowr’s single before Calvin replaced the gutsy Gaucho DH on second. Calvin’s speed paid off on a passed ball, as he and Brethowr both moved up a base, to third and second respectively. Unfortunately, that passed ball was strike three for the second out, and another strikeout ended the rally.

Gutierrez stayed in cruise control on the mound until the top of the sixth, when a two-run homer from Christian got San Diego back within a pair. Gutierrez bounced back by getting the next three batters out to end the frame. His day ended after a lead-off single in the seventh, with Jackson Flora summoned to relieve him. He had to work out of a tough spot after a single and a sac bunt put runners at second and third, but a failed squeeze play erased the runner at third. A flyout to deep left center got Flora the rest of the way out of the jam.

The rookie righty was replaced by rookie lefty Tryba after a leadoff walk in the eighth, and a third freshman got involved for the first out of the frame. Jonathan Mendez laid out to snag a grounder up the middle and shovel to Nick Oakley at second for the first out of the frame. Two flyouts to Sebring ended the inning.

Oakley got the crowd to their feet with a one-out triple in the bottom of the eighth, and he thought he had a fifth run for Santa Barbara in a bang-bang play at home after Sebring laid down a bunt. He was called out on the field, a call that stood after video review. Mendez kept the inning moving with a single that sent Sebring to third, but after the Gaucho shortstop stole second the inning ended.

Tryba was back out for the ninth and got the job done. He allowed a two-out walk, but then won a 10-pitch at-bat to end the game with a punchout.


  • Mike Gutierrez recorded the 23rd win of his Gaucho career on Sunday, pitching six innings and scattering six hits with only the two-run homer against him. His 23 victories tie Shane Bieber for third most in program history, and his .885 winning percentage is the best of any man to pull on the Blue and Gold.
  • Jonathan Mendez continued his quietly impressive weekend at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a walk to bump his batting average to .400 on the Regional.
  • Ivan Brethowr’s big home run ended a 0-for-11 streak over his first two games and an at-bat on the weekend. He followed that up with an opposite-field single and finished 2-for-4 on the day.

With the win, Santa Barbara advances to the Regional Final later Sunday evening, where they will get another crack at the Oregon Ducks. It will be the fifth meeting between the Ducks and Gauchos this year, with each team having won two of the last four. First pitch is at 6 p.m.



Written by UCSantaBarbara

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