No. 19 UCSB Blanked by UC Riverside in Regular Season Finale

Devon Gradford (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Devon Gradford (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Angel Landazuri and Alex Fagalde combined to throw a five-hit shutout as UC Riverside defeated No. 19 UC Santa Barbara 6-0 in Saturday's regular season finale at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Landazuri tossed the first seven innings for UCR (26-29, 12-12 Big West), giving up five hits and walking one against two strikeouts. Fagalde entered the game in the eighth and proceeded to throw two hitless innings to close out the game.

"It's a disappointing way to finish the season obviously," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "The guys were motivated, they wanted to win the series. We just didn't have enough quality at-bats and we tried too hard on a few plays." 

After Saturday's result, UCSB finished the regular season with a 37-18-1 overall record and a 13-11 mark in Big West play, good for third place. The team will learn its postseason fate on Monday morning on the NCAA Division I Baseball Selection Show, which will be broadcasted at 9:00 a.m. PDT on ESPNU. 

Before the game, a trio of UCSB seniors were honored in a pregame ceremony. All three figured into Saturday's tilt as well, with lefty Justin Kelly tossing 2 2/3 innings of relief, Ryan Clark going 1-3 in his second start since returning from a knee injury, and Devon Gradford putting on the best offensive performance for the Gauchos with a pair of singles and hard contact in each of his four plate apperances. 

The game started off in poor fashion for the Gauchos, as UCR leadoff hitter Austin Colvin reached base on a throwing error after fanning on a Joe Record curveball in the dirt. Colvin eventually advanced to third then scored on a sac fly for an unearned run which held up as the game-winner. 

The Highlanders extended their lead in the fourth with a two-run homer from Yeager Taylor, then plated two more in the fifth on UCSB wild pitches. UCR strung together three singles in the eighth for another run to cap the scoring.

Record was tagged with the loss for the Gauchos after allowing two earned runs over four full innings, dropping his win-loss mark to 5-5 on the year. Positively for UCSB, Kyle Nelson recorded the final five outs of the contest without allowing a run, striking out Drake Zarate to close the ninth.

UCSB retained the No. 21 RPI in the country after the loss, inching out Arizona for the highest rating of any team in the west.