Gauchos Edged 5-4 by Cal State Bakersfield

Austin Bush (Photo by Vince Agapito)
Austin Bush (Photo by Vince Agapito)

SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Cal State Bakersfield scored five runs in the final two innings of Tuesday's midweek contest at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium to claim a 5-4 comeback win over No. 16 UC Santa Barbara. 

Chance Gusbeth was the star for the Roadrunners (12-34), going 2-3 offensively with three RBIs and closing down the game with a scoreless bottom of the ninth to earn his third save of the year. 

UCSB (31-13-1) squandered a 3-0 lead in the loss, negating a strong collective effort from relievers James Carter, Kevin Chandler, and Justin Kelly

Carter started his second straight midweek game, and gave up just one hit over two innings. Freshman right-hander Kevin Chandler followed that up with the best outing of his young collegiate career, tossing four shutout innings with just a pair of hits against. Finally, Kelly recovered from a leadoff walk in the sixth to strike out the side. 

But the Roadrunners bats came awake in the late innings, tying the game with three runs in the eighth before going ahead with a two-run ninth. 

Gusbeth made UCSB pay for an error and a hit batsmen in the former rally, clubbing a two-run triple off the wall in left center field. He came in to score himself on a Ryan Grotjohn opposite field base hit. 

Entering the game as a defensive substitution, freshman Michael McAdoo ended that rally with what would have been the play of the game had UCSB been able to hang on.

With the game already tied and the bases still loaded, CSUB catcher Junior Felix popped a blooper into foul territory down the right field line. McAdoo ranged far to his left to make the catch, then turned a delivered a laser right to catcher Sam Cohen to retire the tagging Grotjohn. 

The Gauchos briefly re-took the lead in the bottom of the eighth when freshman catcher Sam Cohen lashed an RBI single down the right field line, but the Runners stormed back for two in the next frame. 

With the top of the order leading off the inning, CSUB set itself up with the first two batters reaching on singles. Two batters later, a walk made it bases loaded with one out. 

From there, Gusbeth once again came up big by lofting a fly ball deep enough to right field to bring in the tying run. CSUB brought across the go-ahead run moments later when Grotjohn chopped one into the 3-4 hole and it deflected off UCSB first baseman Austin Bush for an RBI infield single.

The Gauchos were able to get the tying run into scoring position in the last of the ninth, but CSUB first baseman Cody White made a pair of nice plays to preserve the win.

First, he fielded a JJ Muno chopper to his right and, despite turning his ankle trying to pivot back towards first, dove towards the bag and was able to tag out the runner for the second out of the inning. Then he made a leaping catch to his right of a Billy Fredrick liner that was destined to bring in the tying run. 

Bush's sixth home run of the season put UCSB up 3-0 in the bottom of the fifth, but the Gauchos lead could have been much larger. The Gauchos loaded the bases with one out in both the second and third innings, but only got one run out of that via a JJ Muno sac fly. UCSB stranded 11 runners total in the game. 

Cal State Bakersfield starter Max Carter was solid but unspectacular in a six-inning outing, scattering 10 hits for three earned. 

UCSB will look to get back into the win column this weekend as its host Big West rival Cal State Fullerton for a crucial three-game series starting at 3:00 p.m. on Friday.