Gauchos Split Sac State Doubleheader

Andrew Martinez (photo by Tony Mastres)
Andrew Martinez (photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team split a pseudo-doubleheader with Sacramento State on Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, finishing off Friday's rain-suspended game and falling 12-3 before recovering for a 10-2 win in the day's regularly scheduled contest. 

After the day's results, UCSB's record moved to 6-10-1 while the Hornets saw their record go to 7-11. 

Sophomore first baseman Armani Smith, junior outfielder Sam Cohen, and redshirt freshman shortstop Andrew Martinez each had four hits overall on the day to lead the Gaucho offense.

The Gauchos and Hornets will play a 1:00 p.m. rubber match on Sunday to determine the winner of the series. Senior right-hander Stevie Ledesma is slated to take the ball for UCSB in his first start of the 2018 season. The Ventura, Calif. native was an all-state starter at Santa Barbara City College before transferring to UCSB. 

Game One Recap

The opening contest of the day began in the top of the sixth inning after the umpiring crew decided to halt Friday's series opener after the fifth inning due to rainy conditions at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. 

Entering the day with a 5-3 lead, Sacramento State pounced on the Gaucho bullpen for two runs in the seventh and then put the game on ice with a five-run eighth. The Hornets slugged a pair of home runs during that seven-run outburst, giving them four roundtrippers for the entirety of the contest. 

UCSB had little in the way of offense over the final four innings of the game. The Gauchos mustered just two singles – one on a howling Armani Smith liner off the glove of Sac St. third baseman Steven Moretto and another on a cue shot grounder inside the third base bag by freshman infielder Drew Williams – and were unable to get a runner into scoring position. 

Right-hander Alex Dentoni, who pitched the final 1 1/3 innings on Friday before play was suspended, re-took his spot on the mound Saturday and tossed all four innings to give him a combined line of three hits and no runs allowed over 5 1/3 innings with no walks and a pair of strikeouts. UCSB redshirt freshman lefty Jack Dashwood was saddled with the loss after allowing five earned runs on Friday. 

Game Two Recap

Things went way better for UCSB on both sides of the ball in the second game on Saturday, with UCSB scoring in four of the first five innings while holding the Hornets at bay for a comfortable 10-2 win. 

Sophomore right-hander Chris Lincoln – making his first start this season – and sophomore southpaw Ben Brecht combined to limit the hot Hornet bats to just two runs in the contest. Brecht was especially effective in his relief role, giving up just one hit over five innings of work en route to his first win of 2018. 

The Wilmette, Ill. native inherited a first-and-third, nobody out jam in the fifth inning and helped the Gauchos get out of the inning with minimal damage despite facing the heart of the order, inducing a run-scoring groundout from Vinny Esposito and then stemming the Sac State threat by getting backwards-Ks from the Hornets third and fourth hitters, Outman and Moretto. 

Andrew McWilliams started off the sixth with a bloop double for Sac State, but Brecht shut them down the rest of the way, setting down the final 12 batters of the game in order. 

While Brecht's outstanding relief effort was the star performance of the game, the UCSB offense gave him plenty of cushion by producing their third 10-run game this month. More impressive, the majority of the damage came against Hornets ace Parker Brahms, who entered the contest with a 28-inning scoreless streak and the lowest ERA in the country (0.00 - pretty tough to beat). 

Smith opened the scoring for UCSB in the first, lofting a high fly ball off the base of the wall in left-center field to bring in Tommy Jew and Cohen and put the Gauchos up for good. All three of those runners reached with two outs.

The Gauchos put up another crooked number the very next inning and brought across the eventual game-winning run with four straight one-out hits off Brahms in the second, including a run-scoring double down the third base line from redshirt junior DH Clay Fisher and an RBI single through the left side from Martinez.

That base knock was the first hit of a standout 3-4 effort for Martinez, who doubled in another run in the fourth and then hit a sky-high fly ball to right-center field in the eighth that got into the jet stream and carried over the fence for his team-leading third home run of the season and his third and fourth RBIs of the game. The San Francisco native was also a difference-maker with the glove, making a pair of highlight-reel barehanded plays to help out Brecht and close out the sixth and eighth innings. 

Lincoln looked promising in his first start, allowing just two earned over his four-plus innings of work. He survived a bases-loaded, one-out jam in the first with only one run coming across, then went on to retire eight straight before issuing a two-out walk in the fourth. 

Sophomore catcher Eric Yang, who yielded catching duties to junior Thomas Rowan in the series opener, also had a nice performance with the bat in game two, going 3-4 with a double and driving in a pair of runs on a seeing-eye base hit up the middle in the fifth.