The No. 8 UCSB baseball team got revenge in yesterday’s midweek victory over CSU Bakersfield with a ninth-inning homerun to put the Gauchos up 8-7 over the Roadrunners.
With the win, the Gauchos are now 36-13-1 overall and 12-6 in conference play. Last week, the Roadrunners upset the Gauchos’ nearly perfect midweek record in UCSB’s first loss in a midweek game. However, this split-game loss puts the Roadrunners at 30-20-1 overall and 15-8-1 in conference.
“[Bakersfield] is competitive and tough, but they battled back. It was a big win, and I liked how we responded from the first game,” Head Coach Andrew Checketts said.
A back and forth game left the Gauchos trailing the Roadrunners going into the top of the ninth, but a two-run bomb hit by freshman first baseman scoring redshirt senior outfielder Scott Quinlan was enough to score the go-ahead run. The game’s winning pitcher, Gaucho freshman right-handed pitcher Chris Clements, pitched 1.1 innings and shut down the Roadrunner lineup in the bottom of the ninth to close out the game.
“It was unreal. An hour later I’m still processing it. Talk about emotion, we thought we were going to win then gave up three,” Checketts said. “We were frustrated because we felt like it wasn’t going our way, and we were down to our last strike, but then Austin stepped up and it was pretty amazing.”
Opening up the game for the Gauchos was junior righty Robby Nesovic coming off a previous hand injury. Nesovic pitched through 2.2 innings allowing three runs in four hits. Nesovic also recorded three errors.
The Gauchos longest recorded pitching appearance in Tuesday’s game was from freshman lefty Kyle Nelson who allowed one run off three hits. Usual Tuesday starter junior lefty Domenic Mazza also made an appearance, but in his .2 innings pitched allowed three runs.
“Nelson was fantastic and has been really throwing the ball well his last 20-25 innings,” Checketts said. “Mazza looked a little fatigued and had a hard time finding the strike zone.”
The power that the Gaucho lineup wanted showed up in yesterday’s game, as the Gauchos put up 14 hits, including three doubles on top of the homer by Bush.
Senior outfielder Clay Fisher was not only among those who logged a double, but he also earned the Gauchos’ only stolen base. Fisher went 3-for-4 in Tuesday’s game.
Senior third baseman Peter Maris was also among those with a double. Maris, now hitting for .319, went 3-for-5 against the Roadrunners and struck out once.
“The guys did a good job of hanging in there after we have been struggling offensively for the past couple weeks,” Checketts said. “We were swinging when it mattered, but we still have some work to do. It was progress.”
Bakersfield’s sophomore right-handed pitcher Steven Gee opened up the game on the mound and went through 4.1 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits. However, closer sophomore righty Max Carter was recorded as the game’s losing pitcher in his solo-inning appearance.
The Gauchos return home to face the conference-leader UC Irvine this weekend starting Friday.