SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Redshirt freshman left-hander Jack Dashwood threw seven innings of three-hit ball in the best start to date of his young career, but the UC Santa Barbara offense stranded 10 runners on base in a 1-0 series-opening loss to Texas State on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyeaska Stadium.
Dashwood, a San Diego native who had pitched to a 6.75 ERA over for UCSB (4-8) over his first three outings of the year, started out Friday's tilt by retiring the first 12 batters of the game including an impressive second frame which saw him get swinging strike threes from the final two batters in a 1-2-3 inning. Using a low 90's fastball, the 6-6 southpaw went on to allow just three hits over his seven-inning outing, which ultimately proved to be just enough for the Bobcats (8-4).
On the offensive side, UCSB had TXST on the ropes on multiple occasions, most notably in the second inning when the Gauchos managed to line three hard singles off of right-handed starter Nicholas Fraze to load the bases with nobody out. However, Fraze danced out of his biggest jam of the day by getting a backwards-K from Jason Willow and then rolling up an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play off the bat of Drew Williams. Bobcats shortstop Luke Sherley helped turn that pivotal twin killing with a nice diving stop up the middle, shoveling the ball to second baseman Jonathan Ortega who caught it bare-handed and finished off the play with an accurate throw to first.
The Gauchos put runners into scoring position in three other innings, including another bases-loaded situation in the eighth, but were ultimately unable to come up with a clutch hit.
"On Fridays when you're facing good pitching, you need to execute the little things it takes to win and we didn't do that today," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "Jack was fantastic. He was in the strike zone and aggressive, it was nice progress for him so hopefully he'll make another jump next time out."
Texas State almost allowed the Gauchos to tie the game in the bottom of the ninth with a pair of fielding near-miscues. Sophomore center fielder Tommy Jew - who went 2-4 on the day with a double - opened that frame by bouncing to short, and a wild throw from Sherley was picked out deftly by first baseman Ryan Newman. Then with two outs and runners on first and second, TXST catcher Jared Huber bobbled a dropped third strike and nearly allowed UCSB leadoff man Tevin Mitchell to reach, but Huber's on-his-knees throw just beat out the runner in the opinion of the first base umpire.
The Bobcats scored the only run of the game in the sixth, as Jacob Almandarez came all the way around to score after singling with one out, moving into scoring position on a swinging bunt up the first base line and then reaching home on an RBI single to left-center from Derek Scheible.
The visitors mounted almost no other threat in the game off Dashwood, only getting a runner as far as second on one other occasion, as Jaylen Hubbard got there on a sac bunt after singling to lead off the fifth. They fared even worse against UCSB's Chris Lincoln, who continued his torrid start to the 2018 season by going six-up, six-down over the final two innings with four strikeouts. The sophomore righty has now tossed 11 2/3 scoreless innings to open the campaign.
Fraze ended up earning the win for TXST, moving to 3-1 on the year. Over his seven complete, he allowed five hits, struck out seven, and walked one. Senior righty Cam Baird finished off the game with two shutout innings to pick up his first save of the year, allowing a pair of hits. Dashwood was a tough-luck loser, falling to 0-2.
UCSB will look to even the series tomorrow afternoon at 2:00 p.m, while the series finale is set for 12:00 p.m. on Sunday. Forecasted rain has the chance to alter those plans, so stay tuned to UCSBGauchos.com for any potential updates.