Tyler Kuresa’s homered twice, including a first-inning grand slam, and Robby Nesovic tossed six shutout innings on the mound to lead UC Santa Barbara to a 10-2 victory over host Arizona Sunday afternoon in Game 5 of the Hi Corbett Classic.
UC Santa Barbara (10-2) finishes the tournament with a 3-1 record. Arizona (8-8) will play in the final game against Mississippi State (11-7) at 5 p.m. this evening.
The Gauchos, who dropped a 10-5 decision to the Wildcats last evening, jumped out to a five-run lead in the opening frame. Arizona starter Tyler Crawford struggled with command, walking Joey Epperson and hitting Peter Maris to lead off the game. One out later, Nesovic, who also hit in the lineup, single home Epperson for the game’s initial run.
Crawford then issued a second walk to Cameron Newell, which loaded the bases. Kuresa then blasted a grand slam over the wall in right field.
Nesovic (W, 1-0), picked up a win in his first start of the season. The right-hander pitched six shutout innings with four strikeouts and just five hits allowed.
The Wildcats, who capitalize on scoring opportunities the previous two nights, stranded 13 runners and went 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position. The middle third of the Arizona lineup combined to go 0-for-12 at the plate.
The Gauchos had plenty of balance, with Kuresa’s two-hit game providing three runs scored and six runs batted in. Scott Quinlan drove in a run and scored another in a 3-for-5 effort, hitting behind Kuresa in the lineup. Kuresa hit a two-run homer in the eighth inning to cap the scoring for UC Santa Barbara.
Arizona’s pitching staff struggled throwing strikes and issued seven total walks in addition to hitting three batsmen. The Gauchos stranded 10 runners in the game.
The Wildcats never scored until the final inning when Kevin Newman drove in two runs. Reliever Campbell Baits had walked the bases loaded and was charged with the two runs allowed to prevent the shutout bid for the Gauchos.
Arizona is slated to throw freshman right-hander Austin Schnabel in the sixth and final game of the Hi Corbett Classic. Mississippi State, which lost 12-3 to the Wildcats on Friday night, will counter with righty Dakota Hudson.
Hi Corbett Classic Schedule/Results
Friday, March 7
Game 1: UC Santa Barbara 8, Mississippi State 3
Game 2: Arizona 12, Mississippi State 3
Saturday, March 8
Game 3: UC Santa Barbara 7, Mississippi State 6
Game 4 : Arizona 10, UC Santa Barbara 5
Sunday, March 9
Game 5: UC Santa Barbara 10, Arizona 2
Game 6 (5 p.m.): Arizona vs. Mississippi State