Gauchos Fall 8-4 to Aztecs

Clay Fisher (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Clay Fisher (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SAN DIEGO – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team briefly led by a pair of runs in Saturday night's tilt at Tony Gwynn Stadium, but San Diego State's bats proved to be too much in an 8-4 win for the home team. 

A night after driving in UCSB's only run of the game, redshirt junior DH Clay Fisher went 2-4 to continue his hot start for the Gauchos (0-2), but the rest of the lineup combined for just a pair of singles. 

The Aztecs (2-0) meanwhile put together a 12-hit performance as a team, led by three-hitter Chase Calabuig's 3-5 day, including a two-run homer and three runs scored. 

UCSB took its first lead of the season with a three-run fifth inning to go up 4-2. Junior left fielder Sam Cohen – the leadoff hitter that frame – opened up the rally by wearing a 2-2 pitch to take first base. After moving to second on a sac bunt from Armani Smith, freshman infielders Jason Willow and Marcos Castanon banged back-to-back singles into center, the first collegiate hits for both players, to tie the game up at 2-2. Fisher, the next batter, gave the Gauchos the lead with an RBI base hit before a wild pitch from SDSU reliever Adrian Mardueno allowed Castanon to cross the plate and cap the scoring. 

Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the Aztecs would come back to re-take the lead in the bottom of the frame, as Calabuig punished UCSB starter Jack Dashwood's leadoff walk by launching a game-tying two-run homer to right field. 

That roundtripper spelled the end of the day for Dashwood, a San Diego native and redshirt freshman who was generally effective in his Division I debut, allowing three earned runs over 4 1/3 innings. 

After Dashwood departed, SDSU greeted UCSB's bullpen with a double and RBI single back through the middle to take the lead for good. They then padded their lead in the sixth with another three runs, all coming in on a bases-loaded triple from DH Chad Bible. 

Fisher opened the scoring for UCSB in the fourth, manufacturing a run almost completely by himself. The All-American shortstop, limited to DH duties as he recovers from Tommy John surgery, opened that frame with a solid base knock into center, then proceeded to steal both second and third bases to put himself 90 feet away from home with just one out. That gambit paid off, as the La Quinta, Calif. native was able to come across on an Eric Yang grounder to second. 

UCSB's Shea Barry, Alex Patterson, and Luke Andrews combined to hold SDSU off the board for the final 2 1/3 innings of the game. Patterson and Andrews, junior college transfers both making their Division I debuts, both retired every batter they faced. Patterson, a righty from San Joaquin Delta College, went through both of his batters while Andrews, a lefty from Bakersfield College, recorded a perfect eighth inning with a pair of strikeouts. 

The Gauchos will look to salvage their opening series tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.