FULLERTON, Calif. -- UC Santa Barbara pitchers Shane Bieber and Domenic Mazza combined to hold Cal State Fullerton to five hits in Sunday's series finale at Goodwin Field while Gaucho's Paddy O'Brien and Campbell Wear drove in all three runs in a 3-2 UCSB win.
The win for UCSB (35-13-1, 12-6) brought them back within a game of the Titans (28-21, 13-5) and UC Irvine at the top of the Big West standings with two weekends of conference play to go.
Bieber (7-3) earned the decision for the Gauchos after allowing just five hits and a pair of runs in a six-inning outing. Mazza was even better in relief, retiring nine consecutive batters after allowing a lead-off walk in the seventh to nail down his second save of the season.
Wear, a senior from San Diego, made a winner of his starting pitcher with a tie-breaking single in the seventh. Sophomore center fielder Andrew Calica sparked that rally with a lead-off single, moving to second with his team-leading 13th stolen base of the season. With Calica in scoring position, Wear then smoked a base hit right back up the middle to plate the Gaucho speedster for the game-winning run.
O'Brien, Wear's understudy behind the plate, had put the Gauchos up by a pair in the top of the first by banging a single into right field to bring in Robby Nesovic -- who had doubled earlier -- and Cameron Newell.
Despite mustering just five hits, the Titans were able to chip away at the Gauchos' lead, tying the game at two apiece in the third.
CSF actually had a chance to go ahead in that third inning, as they still had the bases loaded after tying the game. However, Bieber seemed galvanized by the threat, inducing an easy comebacker to end the inning before retiring eight of the final nine batters he faced before making way for Mazza in the seventh.
John Gavin (6-2) ended up taking the loss for the Titans, as he allowed all three runs on seven hits with seven punchouts in 6.1 innings of work. Willie Kuhl and Tyler Peitzmeier teamed up to shut out the Gauchos in the final 2.2 innings of the contest.
Newell reached base three times on the day for the Gauchos, while Nesovic joined him in the two-hit club.
UCSB will back in action on Tuesday night, as the team travels to Cal State Bakersfield to take on the Roadrunners in the final midweek contest of the season for both squads.