It was a rocky outing for the Wildcats’ preseason All-American, Kyle Cody, who got knocked around for seven runs on six hits and a walk in only three innings on the mound.
The No. 16 Gauchos (5-0) plated two runs in the first, one in the second and four in the bottom of the third inning to chase Cody (0-1), UK’s expected ace and a projected first-round MLB Draft pick.
Senior left fielder Cameron Newell went 3-for-4 with two RBI and three runs scored to lead UCSB at the plate, including his first home run of the season. He lacked only a triple for the cycle, and also stole a base in a strong all-around performance.
Kentucky (2-2) got three hits from catcher Zach Arnold and two apiece from Ka’ai Tom and Kyle Barrett, but had trouble stringing them together against UCSB starter Shane Bieber (2-0). He worked eight innings, scattering nine hits and allowing two runs.
One bright spot for UK came out of the bullpen, where Brad Schaenzer worked three innings of hitless relief to help save the Cats’ arms for the next two games on their West Coast trip.
Kentucky returns to action at UCSB on Saturday at 5 p.m. ET.
Freshman shortstop Riley Mahan made his first career start … Junior righty Kyle Cody made his team-leading 18th career start … Sophomore second baseman JaVon Shelby made his club-leading 54th consecutive start … Junior leftfielder Ka’ai Tom notched his third double of the year and the 10th of his career … Mahan laid down his first two career sacrifice bunts … Junior catcher Zach Arnold has a 13-game hitting streak, dating back to 2014 … Junior Ryne Combs made his season debut … Junior Matt Snyder made his season debut … Freshman Brad Schaenzer made his collegiate debut.