Gauchos Fall in Ninth Inning Heartbreaker at Texas
AUSTIN, Texas — In the middle contest of a three game series with the Texas Longhorns, the Gauchos were the victims of late game heroics from C.J. Hinojosa, who led his team to a 3-2 victory with a walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning off of UCSB righty Dylan Hecht.
Saturday afternoon's defeat dropped UCSB's record to 8-6, while Texas improved to 9-5.
The Longhorns' ninth inning efforts spoiled a stellar start from UCSB freshman lefty Justin Jacome, who gave up two runs and four hits over 6.2 innings pitched with five strikeouts and a pair of walks.
The Gauchos offense struggled mightily against Texas starter Dillon Peters, mustering just two hits and one earned run off the lefty over 5.2 innings pitched. Despite their struggles, the Gauchos were actually the first to get on the board after Jackson Morrow led off the second inning with a double and later scored on a Robby Nesovic sacrifice fly to make the score 1-0.
The Longhorns answered back in the bottom of the third with back-to-back two-out extra base hits to knot the score at 1-1.
UCSB would score its final run of the game in the sixth inning. Junior outfielder Joey Epperson kept the Gauchos alive with a two-out walk, then stole second during the next at bat. Epperson would come around to score when Nesovic again came through in an RBI situation, this time doubling to left field.
Nesovic ended the day going 2-3 with both of the Gaucho RBI's.
Jacome pitched into the seventh, but was pulled after surrendering a two-out, bases empty walk to Weston Hall. Jacome left the game in line for the win, but the UCSB bullpen couldn't prevent Hall from scoring to make it 2-2.
Texas reliever Brooks Marlow was just as effective as Peters in limiting the Gauchos lineup, giving up just one hits over his 3.1 innings pitched. Marlow would pick up the victory for his strong outing, moving to 1-0 on the season.
The Longhorns would threaten to go ahead in the eighth, singling twice to put runners on the corners with one out. However, UCSB freshman righty Dylan Hecht came in and put out the rally, striking out Codey McElroy before getting Marlow to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the inning.
Hecht came out to start the ninth as well, but hit a batter and walked another to put runners into scoring position. Hinojosa's solidly hit double then sent the Longhorns to victory, giving the team their third straight win.
The Gauchos and Longhorns will conclude their series with a matchup tomorrow between UCSB's Andrew Vasquez and Texas's Nathan Thornhill, with first pitch set for 10:00 a.m. Pacific time. The Gauchos will then return home to face the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Tuesday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. before hosting Sacramento State for a three game series from Mar. 15-17. Tickets for all home games can be purchased here.