Santa Barbara Athletics News
May 23, 2017
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Austin Bush launched his record-tying 18th home run of the season and an all-freshman outfield combined for eight hits and four RBIs as UC Santa Barbara routed visiting USC 11-2 in Tuesday’s home finale at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
With 16 hits as a team, there was no shortage of offensive standouts for the Gauchos (23-30) as every starter had at least one hit.
“It was nice to play a little bit better in our last home game and get the win,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “Last weekend was pretty humbling, so it was nice to see we got a response out of the guys. Even though we haven’t played great, the guys have continued to play hard, so they can hang their hat on that, that they’ve continued to give effort.”
Freshman center fielder Tommy Jew finished a triple short of the cycle and freshman left fielder Armani Smith went 3-5 to lead UCSB’s big day with the bats, but the big headline was generated by Bush’s solo shot in the third inning, which extended his Big West lead in the home run department and placed him in a tie with Tyler Von Schell (2001) for the most single-season home runs in Gaucho lore.
Bush, who’s now launched eight homers in the last nine games, needs just one more roundtripper in the team’s final three contests to become UCSB’s home run champion.
“During last year’s postseason run, we struggled a little bit with the bats and it felt at times that Austin was our offense,” said Checketts. “He’s had that effect this year as well with his ability to take over games with his power. Three of his last four homers he’s mishit a little bit, which just shows you how strong he is. He sure has been spectacular for us in the middle of the …