Gauchos Fall to Fresno State at Stanford Regional, 9-2

Andrew Martinez connects for UCSB's first hit in its game against Fresno State. (Photo by Bill Truong)
Andrew Martinez connects for UCSB's first hit in its game against Fresno State. (Photo by Bill Truong)

STANFORD, Calif.- In game one of the NCAA Baseball Stanford Regional, No. 2-seeded UC Santa Barbara fell to third-seeded Fresno State, 9-2 on Friday night at Sunken Diamond.

With the loss, the Gauchos drop to 45-10 overall, while the Bulldogs improved to 39-14-1. UCSB will play Sacramento State in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 p.m.

"We haven't been kicked in the teeth, but last weekend we had our backs against the wall, had to bounce back, and stay together," said Head Coach Andrew Checketts. "When you haven't had a lot of games like that, it gets easy to lose your body language and get frustrated. At that point, you have to take it one pitch at a time."

Gaucho starter Ben Brecht allowed four straight singles in the opening frame before giving up a two-out double to left by Zach Presno which put the Bulldogs on top 4-0.

Fresno State added one more before the end of the inning to extend the lead to 5-0 after one, however only two of the runs scored were earned.

In the second, it was a similar story for FSU which forced Brecht out of the game following a single and two consecutive doubles to claim a 7-0 lead.

Brecht's final stat line included 1.1 innings of work, allowing seven runs, only four of which were earned, on eight hits, no strikeouts, and no walks.

Shea Barry entered the game in relief with one out in the second and neutralized the damage to get out of the second unharmed.

The Bulldogs tacked on another against Alex Patterson with two down in the fourth when McCarthy Tatum doubled past a diving Kyle Johnson at first to make it 8-0.

Patterson hurled 3.1 innings in relief and gave up just the one run on two hits with four strikeouts and four walks.

"I was just trying to come in and keep the team in the game by throwing strikes to save some arms," Patterson said. "I know that we have to make a run now to win this regional so I wanted to go as long as I could to give the team a chance."

Bulldogs' starter Ryan Jensen, projected as a top-two round draft choice in next week's Major League Draft, had a no-hitter heading into the sixth, but Andrew Martinez drove a two-out double to left to break up the no-hit bid. On the ensuing at bat, Eric Yang drove a fly ball to deep left-center, but the catch was made at the warning track to retire the side.

Jensen was lights out in his 7.2 innings, allowing just two earned runs and four hits with eight strikeouts.

"He had his fastball going today and a little two-seam going as well," said senior Thomas Rowan. "He seemed to be going to that during a three-two count and he needed a strikeout. We didn't have the quality at bats that we needed at the beginning of the game."

Rallying to open the seventh, Rowan drove a single up the middle followed by a double to left from Armani Smith to advance Rowan to third.

Santa Barbara finally got on the scoreboard with a sacrifice fly to right field by Tommy Jew, scoring Rowan from third base and moving Smith to third.

With two outs in the seventh frame, Christian Kirtley entered as a pinch hitter and reached on an infield single to third, scoring Smith to make it an 8-2 game.

A two-out single in the eighth brought one more across the plate for Fresno State to give the Bulldogs a 9-2 advantage in the late innings.

Four separate Gauchos recorded a hit while both Yang, Rowan, and Smith reached base on multiple occasions.

UCSB will meet No. 4-seeded Sacramento State in an elimination game on Saturday afternoon with a 1 p.m. first pitch at Klein Filed in Sunken Diamond at the Stanford Regional. Jack Dashwood is expected to start for the Gauchos.