The Gaucho baseball team’s last home game of the season against Cal State Bakersfield yesterday turned into a battle of the bats — a battle where Bakersfield outswung the Gauchos on the way to a 13-10 victory. UCSB has now lost five games in a row and fallen to 21-30 in the season.
Bakersfield hit five home runs, the first of which was a two-run shot to left field by Bakersfield first baseman Martin Medina in the first inning. Medina finished with three hits and two RBI.
“Our pitching staff just left balls up [in the strike zone] today and they made us pay,” senior center fielder Gunnar Terhune said.
Already down by two runs, the Gauchos put up four runs in the first inning, sparked by an RBI single to right field by shortstop Matt Valaika. Junior third basemen Beck Wheeler then brought home two runners with a triple down the right field line. A groundout to second base by junior left fielder Ben Edelstein brought home the fourth run of the inning.
Unfortunately, the day was not as kind to the Gaucho pitchers, as Bakersfield was able to get ahead on pitching counts and punish the Santa Barbara staff. The Roadrunners scored in each of the first five innings, totaling 11 runs and 13 hits over that span. Two second-inning home runs, one a solo shot and the other a three-run homer, gave the Roadrunners the lead. They never gave it back.
“They were scoring runs early and throughout the game by getting ahead in the count,” Terhune said.
Yet another home run gave the Roadrunners a run in the fourth, while a pair of walks by junior right-handed pitcher Sam Phippen along with some effective hitting by Bakersfield led to three runs in the fifth frame.
Despite their pitcher’s struggles, the Gauchos did not let the game slip away from them. Assisted by a Roadrunner throwing error, Santa Barbara put up four more runs in the fourth — two from a triple to deep left-center by Valaika. The team then scored two more in the sixth inning to get within one run of Bakersfield. However, that was the last run the Gauchos were able to score and the Roadrunners took home the victory.
“We had some quality at-bats and we drove some runs in, but we left too many guys on base,” Terhune said.
In the final three innings, Bakersfield put up two more runs while the Gauchos were unable to overcome the relief efforts of CSUB pitcher Juan Padilla.
The Gauchos have just one more three-game series left to finish out their season. The final three games will be played against Pacific in Stockton starting this Friday.
“It’s easy to roll over,” Terhune said. “But we’re trying to finish the season on a positive note.”