IRVINE, Calif. – No. 19 UC Santa Barbara took an early 2-0 after five frames, but were unable to hold off No. 20 UC Irvine's late charge in the final innings and took a 3-2 loss Saturday afternoon at Anteater Ballpark.
The Gauchos dropped to 26-13-1, 7-10 with their second straight loss in the series. The Anteaters remained strong during conference play, improving to 31-14, 13-1 on the season.
UCSB's lineup contributed relatively evenly across the board, with eight players collecting one hit and no players with multiple hits. Joey Epperson and Woody Woodward had the lone RBIs for the Gauchos.
UC Santa Barbara took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, starting with Scott Quinlan taking a hit-by-pitch with one-out. Quinlan would come around to score on Woodward's two-out RBI single. The Gauchos would add another run in the fifth, thanks to Epperson's RBI double which drove in Cameron Newell.
Unfortunately, UCSB was not able to hold off UC Irvine from coming back in the late innings as the Anteaters scored two runs to tie the game in the seventh and scored the go-ahead run in the eighth to earn the victory.
In the seventh, Jonathan Munoz and Jerry McClanahan sparked a rally with back-to-back singles to lead off the inning. After they advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, Adam Alcantara hit a pinch-hit RBI groundout to score Munoz, and McClanahan came around to score on an error to even the score at 2-2.
The Gauchos got into a jam into the eighth inning as well, as Grant Palmer walked and Chris Rabago singled to lead off the inning. UCSB's Greg Mahle was able to induce a double-play groundball from Connor Spencer, getting two much needed outs as Palmer advanced to third. However, UC Irvine broke through, as Taylor Sparks hit an RBI infield single to third off of Dillon Tate, scoring Palmer and snatching the lead for the Anteaters. The Gauchos were unable to score off of closer Sam Moore in the ninth, ending their hopes of coming back in the game.
Starting on the mound for UCSB was Austin Pettibone, who delivered a solid outing for the Gauchos. Pettibone was charged with two runs, one earned in 6.1 innings pitched and struck out four. Mahle was charged with the go-ahead run, thus taking the loss with his record now standing at 6-3 for the season.
UC Irvine starter Elliot Survey provided the Anteaters with a quality performance, pitching 7.1 innings with two earned runs allowed. Evan Manarino recorded the win out of the bullpen, improving his pitching record to 2-3. Moore earned his 21st save, holding off the Gauchos after allowing a leadoff single in the ninth inning.
Munoz and Spencer led the Anteaters offensively with two hits apiece.
UCSB will look to salvage the third game of the series after dropping the first two against UC Irvine. First pitch begins at 1:00 p.m.