TUCSON, Ariz. – For the second day in a row, UC Santa Barbara utilized a potent offensive attack to knock off No. 10 Mississippi State, 7-6, in Game 3 of the Hi Corbett Classic at Hi Corbett Field.
UC Santa Barbara (9-1), which has won seven-straight games and faces host Arizona tonight at 7 p.m., scored early and often before holding off the Bulldogs in the later innings.
Woody Woodward had two hits and scored three runs, while Robby Nesovic added a pair of hits and drove in three key runs for the Gauchos.
Mississippi State (11-7) struck first with a run in the opening frame, but found itself trailing after UCSB scored twice in the bottom of the first. Tyler Kuresa’s two-run double scored Woodward and Tyler Epperson, who was 2-for-5.
The Bulldogs tied the game in the second when a balk was called against Gauchos’ starter Shane Bieber with a runner on third.
The tie was broke in the bottom of the third when UCSB scored three times against Bulldog’s starter Trevor Fitts. Reliever Ross Mitchell threw a wild pitch to push across a run, and later Nesovic drove in a run with a single and Ryan Clark drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Gauchos a three-run cushion.
Mississippi State answered back with a three-run inning of its own. C.T. Bradford roped a two-run triple and later scored on Cody Brown’s sacrifice fly to tie the game, 5-5.
The Guachos took the lead for good in the fourth on Nesovic’s two-run single off Mitchell (L, 2-1), who suffered his first career loss. He had won all 18 prior decisions.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Fitts allowed five runs over 2.1 innings, while Beiber pitched 3.1 with five runs allowed.
Gauchos’ reliever Cameron Cuneo (W, 1-0) earned the victory with 1.2 innings of work in place of Beiber. He gave up just the one sixth-inning run, which all the Bulldogs could muster against the bullpen.
Dillon Tate pitched 1.1 scoreless innings to earn his third save of the season.
UC Santa Barbara has two remaining games in the Hi Corbett Classic, beginning tonight against the Wildcats. The same two clubs will play each other tomorrow at noon (MST).
Mississippi State will be off until it concludes the tournament with a game against Arizona Sunday night at 5 p.m.