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The UCSB baseball team earned a much-needed 7-3 win yesterday on the road against Cal State Bakersfield with a four-run eighth inning that broke a late-game tie.
The non-conference win puts the Gauchos at 27-14-1 overall on the season as their Big West mark of 7-11 remains the same. The win is a big momentum booster for the team as UCSB also ends its five-game winless streak with the victory, the longest run of games without a win this season. Meanwhile, Bakersfield drops to seven games below .500 at 20-27.
With the game tied at 3-3 and seeming to be heading into extra innings, the Gauchos put the game out of reach in the eighth inning.
Freshman infielder Billy Fredrick came to pinch hit for senior catcher Jackson Morrow with the bases loaded and delivered a clutch RBI to start the hit parade for the Gauchos.
UCSB originally loaded the bases in the inning without earning a hit, getting runners on base by pass ball, walk and hit batter.
The wheels fell off for Bakersfield after Fredrick’s hit. With the bases still loaded, senior left fielder Joey Epperson grounded out to score the runner from third and the next hitter, junior shortstop Peter Maris, doubled down the right field line to extend Santa Barbara’s lead to four runs.
Sophomore relief pitcher Dillon Tate took over from there for the Gauchos. The right-hander had an easy 1-2-3 inning in the bottom of the eighth and quickly took care of business in the final inning by retiring the side in order. Tate pitched three innings of relief in total and gave up only one hit.
Bakersfield had originally put the game in a deadlock in the sixth inning as sophomore pitcher Domenic Mazza ran out of gas towards the end of his start. A single by the Roadrunners followed by a groundout advanced the runner to second base and into scoring position.
Needing just one more out to escape the threat, Mazza allowed another single to put the game at 3-3.
The game-tying run ended a three-inning scoring drought by both sides. Santa Barbara previously led 3-2 by scoring two runs on three hits and an error in the second inning. Epperson had an RBI single and Morrow later scored from third base on a pass ball.
In the first inning, UCSB took the lead by tacking a run on a two-out RBI by junior designated hitter Greg Mahle. Mahle, who has had an impressive year pitching from the bullpen, was in the lineup in Tuesday’s game and singled through the right side to send Maris home from second base. Maris had previously doubled in his at-bat.
The lead was short-lived as Bakersfield took the lead with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. With runners on first and second base, Mazza picked off the runner from first but allowed a triple to the next batter to tie the game at one apiece. Mazza gave up another extra-base hit before the inning ended to give CSUB a 2-1 advantage.
UCSB now turns to this weekend when it will play Cal State Northridge for the final three-game set at home starting Friday.
A version of this article appeared on page 10 of May 7th’s print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of The Daily Nexus.