UC Santa Barbara defeated Pacific, 4-2, in the finals of the Big West Men's Tennis Championship at Indian Wells Tennis Garden Sunday, becoming the first No. 5 seed in history to capture the crown.
The Gauchos claimed their eighth tournament championship, and first since 2009. The 2009 club won the title as a No. 4 seed, which at the time represented the lowest seed to ever become a champion.
UCSB (12-13) earned the Big West's automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, with first and second round action being played May 10-12.
The Gauchos captured the all-important doubles point to set the tone for the match. After winning at the No. 1 position, the No. 2 duo of Benjamin Recknagel and Axel Bouillin defeated Alex Golding and Alex Hamilton, 8-5.
Recknagel boosted UCSB's lead to 2-0 with a 6-2, 6-2 triumph at No. 2 against Golding, but Pacific roared back as Ben Mirkin toppled Alexander Gryaznov, 6-1, 6-4.
The Tigers then tied the match at 2-2 with Denis Stolyarov delivering a 7-6 (5), 6-2 win against Bouillin at No. 3.
Freshman Jake Johnson came up huge for the Gauchos from the No. 6 draw, dispatching of Hamilton in three sets, 7-5, 4-6, 6-0, giving his team a 3-2 lead.
UCSB decided the outcome at No. 4 as Ziad Sultan won a tight 7-6 (1), 6-4 battle against Alameh to set off a celebration.
Pacific fell to 16-9 with the loss.
BIG WEST TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIPS
INDIAN WELLS TENNIS GARDEN
(5) UC SANTA BARBARA 4, (3) PACIFIC 2