BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – UC Santa Barbara's early-season offensive struggles continued on Tuesday as the team dropped a 2-1 decision at CSU Bakersfield despite a solid collective pitching performance in the team's first midweek contest of the season.
Junior left fielder Colton Burns continued his hot start in a Gaucho uniform, as he went 2-2, reached base four times, and drove in UCSB's (1-3) lone run. However, Clay Fisher and Landon Silver were the only other Gauchos to record hits.
"We have some talented guys in our lineup and they're not going to go hitless for the year," said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. "But there's no magic pill, no magic solution. It's going to take hard work and getting back to basics."
Sophomore starting pitcher Isaiah Moten turned in a highlight performance for CSUB (2-2), recording a career-high nine strikeouts over 7 1/3 innings. The right-hander was slated to only throw 60 pitches on Tuesday, but remained on the hill after allowing only two hits over the first seven innings.
Moten began to leak oil in the eighth, walking the leadoff batter before shortstop Clay Fisher singled to left to give UCSB a pair on with nobody out.
After a sac bunt moved both runners into scoring position, Roadrunners coach Jeremy Beard elected to bring in right-handed sidearmer Naithen Dewsnap.
Burns greeted Dewsnap with an RBI infield single to deep short, but the CSUB reliever responded by striking out Austin Bush and inducing a foulout from JJ Muno – with a little help from shortstop Ryan Grotjohn, who made a great running catch down the third base line – to end the threat.
Dewsnap retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his first save of the season.
The loss overshadowed a solid performance from UCSB's pitching staff, highlighted by a 5 1/3 inning start from junior righty Chris Clements.
In his first appearance since Mar. 29 of last year, Clements showed good command with his fastball and got into no trouble except for the two-run second inning.
"Chris gave us a real competitive start," said Checketts. "He should be better as the year goes on too."
UCSB will return to Santa Barbara this weekend, hosting Tulane for a three-game series starting with the home opener on Friday afternoon at 2:00 p.m.
UCSBGauchos.com will carry live audio broadcasts of all three games of the Tulane series.