Final Overall Record:
UC Santa Barbara: 41-20
How they made the NCAA regionals:
Although the UC Santa Barbara men’s baseball team finished as runners-up in the Big West, they still posted an impressive win percentage in a tough league. That was enough for the Gauchos to earn an at-large bid by the NCAA selection committee. Based on their at-large bid, they were placed as the third seed in the Tucson Regional. Rounding out the Tucson Regional was No. 1 seed University of Arizona, No. 2 seed Oklahoma State University and No. 4 seed Grand Canyon University. In order for the Gauchos to advance, they would have had to beat their first opponent Oklahoma State, which would have allowed them to be in a three-game series with the remaining three teams since it was double elimination.
Game One: UCSB beats Oklahoma State with a flurry of runs
The Gauchos’ first game of the tournament started with an unsung hero having a career day. Having only played in 10 conference games, Marcos Castanon picked the right day to have 5 hits and come a triple short of the cycle. The Gauchos overall had an excellent day at the plate, putting 21 runners on base and 3 via walks, while pooling together 18 hits. Starter Rodney Boone also put together the type of performance you’d expect from him, going 7.1 innings and striking out 11 while giving up a mere 3 earned runs. The Gauchos went on to win the opening game 14-4 against the second-seeded Oklahoma State.
Game Two: UCSB loses in shutout to Arizona
Not much went right for UCSB in this ballgame. Arizona scored in the first inning and that ended up proving to be enough in a ballgame where the Gauchos couldn’t get the offense going. Starter Michael McGreevy tossed a solid start to the tune of 2 runs allowed in 6 innings. As for Arizona, their starter Garrett Irvin tossed a complete game with a 3-hit shutout. Subsequently, the Wildcats took the winners’ bracket game 4-0.
Game Three: UCSB has a déjà vu victory over Oklahoma State
Just like in game one, the Gauchos’ offense exploded in this game en route to a 13-3 victory. Also like in game one, the offense was led behind designated hitter Castanon, who had 3 hits, 2 doubles and 5 runs batted in. Starter Cory Lewis saved one of his most dominant performances of the season for this game, going 8 innings while allowing just 4 hits and 1 run and striking out 5 batters.
Game Four: UCSB loses to regional winner Arizona
Unlike in the first meeting against Arizona, the Gauchos managed to get on base 12 times with 10 hits and 2 walks. The difference in this game was that the Gauchos left 10 runners on base, as opposed to Arizona leaving just 9 on base, even though the Gauchos accumulated more runners on base. Starter JD Callahan pitched well — going 5.2 innings while giving up 4 runs — but was taken out after allowing a 2-run homer in the sixth inning. That homer proved to be the game-deciding difference as the Gauchos added a second run, but the score was 4-2 in favor of Arizona. The Wildcats added one more run and ended up winning the ballgame 5-2.
The end of a spectacular season…
Although the second loss to Arizona ended the Gauchos’ season, this was a successful season for UCSB overall. The Gauchos finished with 41 wins, have a roster that is young with the likes of Jordan Sprinkle and Cole Cummings and will only get better with the experience of the conference regionals. With all the success came numerous awards for the Gaucho players, so stay tuned for a season recap!