No. 17 UCSB Falls To Cal State Fullerton, Sets Up Sunday Rubber Match

Eric Yang (Photo by Carl Wolford)
Eric Yang (Photo by Carl Wolford)

FULLERTON, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara pounced on Cal State Fullerton (12-12 overall, 1-1 Big West) early in Saturday's game jumping out to a 5-0 lead through four innings, however, the Titans would use a seven-run seventh inning to rally and tie the series up at 1-1 following their 9-7 win over the Gauchos.

For UCSB (18-5 overall, 1-1 Big West), this is just its second loss when it gets double-digit hits as it registered 15 today.

Early on, UCSB looked good earning nine hits and four runs through the games first four innings. In the first frame, Santa Barbara scored two runs, one thanks to an RBI double from senior Thomas Rowan and the other courtesy of a sac fly from junior Armani Smith.

In the fourth, the Gauchos would more than double their lead thanks to an RBI single from Jason Willow and a two-run double from junior catcher Eric Yang who continues his spectacular season.

In this game, Yang went a perfect 4-4 at the plate with four runs batted in. The catcher now leads the team in RBI's with 25 and has hit successfully in all but three games this season.

Up 5-0, UCSB looked like it would cruise but found themselves in trouble at the bottom of the fifth. After allowing five hits but no runs through the first four innings, Fullerton finally got the better of Dashwood as CSUF's best hitter Isaiah Garcia hit a triple to center field finding the gap and scoring two runs cutting the deficit to 5-2.

Santa Barbara would counter with a run in the top of the sixth, courtesy of a Yang RBI single, to maintain a four-run lead. After allowing two runs in the fifth, Dashwood came back out for the sixth getting two strikes before being relieved by Shea Barry. Dashwood finished the day allowing nine hits and no earned runs but had a season-low one strikeout in the contest.

In the seventh, the Gauchos really came undone. Barry allowed two singles to start the bottom half of the seventh and would then walk the next batter to load the bases up with no outs. UCSB decided to call upon Chris Lincoln to try to save the inning from getting away but it did not help much.

CSUF's Jarius Richards roped a single down the right side scoring two and cutting UCSB's lead to 6-4. Lincoln would bounce back to strike out the next batter but would then allow a single, then a two-run double tying the game up. A groundout RBI by CSUF would give them the lead at 7-6. To conclude the inning, Titans' Brett Borgogno laced a bases-clearing, two-run triple to truly give Cal State Fullerton a commanding 9-6 lead. 

Lincoln would be replaced by Alex Patterson who came in and got the final out to stop the bleeding. After a 1-2-3 inning for the Gauchos, Patterson pitched well in the bottom of the eighth allowing just one hit but keeping the deficit at 9-6.

This would be huge as UCSB had a fair share of opportunities in the top half of the ninth. After a double from Tevin Mitchell, who went 2-3, Yang would help him score with a single to left field. A double from Rowan then a walk by Smith would load the bases up for UCSN with one out. Unfortunately, the next two batters would both fly out ending the match in favor of CSUF 9-7.

UCSB will conclude the series at 1 p.m. on Sunday, Mar. 31 at Goodwin Field. With a win, UCSB would secure its first series win at Fullerton since 2007./