Arizona baseball wins second in a row, Gilbert continues to shine
Junior second baseman Trent Gilbert provided the offensive spark that Arizona baseball needed to defeat UCSB 10-5 on Saturday evening.
Gilbert has compiled eight hits and eight RBIs in his last two games for the Wildcats (8-7).
“He’s been short of spectacular,” head coach Andy Lopez said. “He’s hot, he’s shortened up his stroke a little bit and is driving the ball the other way. He’s hit a couple balls in the left-center gap, which is always a good sign.”
Arizona struck first with a run in the bottom of the second inning and tacked on another when Gilbert launched his first career home run over the right field wall in the fourth. He additionally added a ground-rule double in the bottom of the eighth that drove in a run.
“It felt good; I was just trying to square up a pitch in a hitters count and wasn’t trying to do too much,” Gilbert said. “I was struggling a little bit with too many fly balls and pop-ups, so it’s been a matter of getting my timing down.”
UCSB’s lefty starter Domenic Mazza (1-1) held the Wildcats to three hits but lost his early effectiveness and allowed six earned runs over 4.2 innings. Mazza struck out three but also issued three walks.
The UA committed four errors, while the Gauchos had one. The Wildcats’ middle infielders accounted for three of the four errors, and UCSB cashed in with three unearned runs in the top of the fifth to take a 3-2 lead.
The UA tied the game in the home half of the fifth when sophomore center fielder Scott Kingery singled in junior designated hitter Riley Moore and tacked on another three runs off of a base-clearing triple by sophomore shortstop Kevin Newman.
Arizona tallied another run in the seventh off of a single by Newman; UCSB answered right back in the top of the eighth with two runs of its own to tighten the gap to two before a double-play got the UA out of trouble.
Redshirt sophomore pitcher Cody Hamlin (3-1) allowed five runs (two earned) on five hits over 7.1 innings. The 6-foot-3, 188-pound righty threw a season-high 125 pitches and only allowed one extra-base-hit, but combated with his command, walking three batters and hitting two others.
“I can always improve on the free bases, and if I work on that, I’m confident my outings will continue to get better,” Hamlin said. “I kind of struggled getting into a rhythm and getting ahead in the count early.”
Arizona wraps up the Hi Corbett Classic with a double header on Sunday. Game one will begin at noon and will be a rematch against the Wildcats and the Gauchos. Game two will begin at 5 p.m. and give the UA a chance to sweep No. 10 Mississippi State.
—Follow Evan Rosenfeld @EvanRosenfeld17