TUCSON, Ariz. – Justin Jacome tossed six-plus innings to quiet 10th-ranked Mississippi State’s bats and led UC Santa Barbara to an 8-3 victory Friday afternoon in the opening game of the Hi Corbett Classic.
The Gauchos, who will play the Bulldogs in a rematch Saturday afternoon before taking on host Arizona tomorrow night, scored their eight runs on 17 base hits against a vaunted Mississippi State pitching staff.
UC Santa Barbara (8-1) overcame an initial two-run deficit by scoring a run in the fifth inning, four in the sixth and three in the seventh. The bottom of the order led the charge as the No. 6-9 spots in the lineup combined to hit 9-for-16 with five runs scored and six runs batted in.
Andrew Calica finished 23-for-5 with two runs driven in out of the No. 7 spot. Scott Quinlan added two hits of his own and drove in a pair of runs in the No. 8-hole, while Jackson Morrow tallied two hits and two runs driven in in the ninth spot.
Jacome (W, 2-0) cruised to the victory on the mound in 6.1 innings of work. The big lefty racked up six strikeouts and allowed just two runs – one earned – on four hits.
Greg Mahle pitched the final 2.2 innings with a pair of strikeouts and just an unearned run allowed in the ninth.
Mississippi State (11-5) took the early lead, but squandered chances for big innings. The Bulldogs first two runs were each scored on groundball double plays, and a third frame ended on a double play before a run scored.
The Guachos opened up the game with a four-run sixth inning. Morrrow’s two-run double provided the big spark and the inning could have been more damaging if not for a bizzare play at the plate.
Morrow attempted to score when Joey Epperson, who went 4-for-5, singled to left field, but Morrow was ruled to have collided with the catcher, Gavin Collins. Epperson was called out despite the ball skipping away, and was ejected from the game for not avoiding the collision.
Mississippi State will take on host Arizona in today’s second game, which is set to begin at 7 p.m.
The Hi Corbett Classic continues Saturday.
Saturday, March 8
Game 3 (2 p.m.): Mississippi State vs. UC Santa Barbara
Game 4 (7 p.m.): UC Santa Barbara vs. Arizona
Sunday, March 9
Game 5 (Noon): Arizona vs. UC Santa Barbara
Game 6 (5 p.m.): Arizona vs. Mississippi State