Gauchos Drop Second Straight to UCR, 9-5

Chris Clements (photo by Gerry Fall)
Chris Clements (photo by Gerry Fall)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Second baseman Colton Burns reached base four times and first baseman Austin Bush drove in four runs for UC Santa Barbara in Saturday's night ESPN3-televised tilt at UC Riverside, but it wasn't enough as as the Gauchos couldn't climb out of a six-run hole in a 9-5 loss at The Plex. 

The Highlanders (16-22, 4-10 Big West) jumped on UCSB (18-22, 4-7) starter Chris Clements for 11 hits and six runs through the first five innings, leading to a big advantage for the home team as the Gauchos couldn't get in any sort of rhythm offensively against UCR starter Alex Fagalde, whose change-up and mid-80s fastball limited UCSB to just one hit through the fifth.

The Gaucho bats began to come alive in the latter half of the game, producing runs in three of their final four at-bats, but by that point the deficit was too large to overcome. 

Bush was at the center of UCSB's offensive exploits, ripping a double into the left-center gap for two runs in the seventh and then bringing in two more with a line single to right field in the ninth. Freshman center fielder Tommy Jew drove in UCSB's first run with a sixth-inning double, extending his team-high hitting streak to 16 games. 

A pair of Gaucho relievers put on solid displays in the late innings of the game, with freshman righty Shea Barry giving up just a bunt single in 1 1/3 innings and Thomas Rowan throwing strikes and allowing no earned runs over one inning in his NCAA pitching debut. 

UCSB will attempt to salvage the series in tomorrow afternoon's finale, with a first pitch set for 1:00 p.m. will carry a live audio broadcast of that contest.