SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Sacramento State starter Austin Root took a no-hitter into the seventh inning and teamed up with righty reliever Tanner Dalton to throw a combined one-hitter to beat UC Santa Barbara 2-0 in Sunday's series finale at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The rubber match loss dropped UCSB's record to 6-11-1, while the visiting Hornets improved to 8-11.
The offensive drought spoiled what was a brilliant collective pitching effort for the Gauchos, headlined by a stellar six-inning outing from senior right-hander Stevie Ledesma, who was making his first start of the 2018 season.
Despite allowing a baserunner in every inning, Ledesma managed to hold Sac State off the board for the entirety of his start. The Hornets were able to get a runner to second in the second, third, and sixth innings, but each time Ledesma came up with big pitches to end the potential threat.
Sac State's best chance off Ledesma came in the third, with nine-hitter Bronson Grubbs getting into scoring position on a leadoff two-base error. However, Ledesma didn't even allow the runner to move to third, ending the inning by inducing two weakly-struck balls and then fielding a sharp comebacker for the third out.
"Stevie was fantastic today, he came out and was in character from the start," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "He had a good fastball today and it looked like it had some solid movement on it from where we were, and he did a nice job with his slider as well."
After the Gauchos were already down, sophomore righty Shea Barry dominated the Hornets in the final two innings of the contest, using a tight slider to strike out the first four batters he faced and then getting the two last batters of the ninth to roll over to the left side.
Sac State leadoff hitter Ian Dawkins provided the day's only runs, blasting a 1-2 offering from UCSB junior righty Alex Patterson over the left field netting for a two-run home run in the top of the seventh inning.
With a bouncer through the middle to open the last of the seventh, sophomore center fielder Tommy Jew was the sole Gaucho to get a hit in Sunday's contest. He moved to second on a ball in the dirt with Sam Cohen at the plate, but the Gauchos couldn't come up with a clutch hit to bring him in.
UCSB had probably their best opportunity to score in the eighth, with Root walking the first two batters of the inning before being lifted for Dalton. The Hornets reliever made a big play against the first batter he faced, bouncing off the mound and fielding an attempted sacrifice bunt and throwing out the lead runner at third base. Dalton went on to strand both runners, getting a flyout from redshirt junior DH Clay Fisher before freezing Andrew Martinez with a fastball slightly above the belt for a called strike three. The Gauchos went 1-2-3 in the ninth to hand Dalton his second save of the year.
The Gauchos do not play a midweek this week due to final exams, and will next be in action on Friday when they host San Jose State at 3:00 p.m. in the first of a three-game set at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.