Gauchos Lose One, Tie One in Texas State Doubleheader

Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)
Armani Smith (photo by Eric Isaacs)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team lost the first game of a Sunday doubleheader against Texas State 6-5 and ended up with a 4-4 tie in the nightcap at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The twin bill was forced by a rainout of Saturday's scheduled contest, and the finale of the series was called early due to a travel curfew for the visiting Bobcats. 

With the loss and draw, UCSB dropped to 4-9-1 on the season. TXST meanwhile improved to 9-4-1 while remaining unbeaten in seven straight. 

With four hits in nine at-bats combined over the two games, redshirt junior DH Clay Fisher was the Gauchos' top offensive performer on Sunday. Redshirt freshman shortstop Andrew Martinez had a standout day with the bat as well, launching his second homer of the year, doubling, and reaching five times as part of a 2-5 day. 

The Gauchos continue a 21-of-22 homestand next week with a Wednesday contest against Dartmouth and a three-game series with Sacramento State starting on Friday. 

Game One Recap

Right fielder Derek Scheible homered twice as part of three-run rallies in the first and sixth innings to lead Texas State to a narrow 6-5 win in the seven-inning opening game of the doubleheader. 

The 2-4 spots in the Bobcats lineup punished the Gauchos as a whole, combining to go 7-12 with five runs scored. 

The visitors jumped out to an early lead in the first, as Scheible's one-out solo shot was followed by an RBI double into the right field corner by Luke Shelby and a run-scoring bloop single into right-center off the bat of Ryan Newman.

UCSB began to punch back in the second, as sophomore first baseman Armani Smith led off that frame with a missile line drive that easily cleared the left field fence for his first home run of the year. The Gauchos would go on to take the lead the next inning, loading the bases with nobody out and then taking advantage of a harmful throwing error from TXST starting pitcher Connor Reich – he had a tailor-made double play comebacker hit to him, but threw way wide of his catcher trying to start the twin killing – to the tune of back-to-back RBI groundouts that made the score 4-3. 

Unfortunately for the Gauchos, the visitors would go on to take the lead for good in the top of the fifth as the Bobcats tagged two of UCSB's best relievers this season for three runs. Junior righty Alex Patterson, who gave up just two hits and no runs in three relief innings prior to the fifth, was the victim of Scheible's second roundtripper which brought TXST within one.

At that point Checketts summoned Chris Lincoln, who entered the game with an 11 2/3 inning scoreless streak to start the season, but the Gauchos' standout sophomore right-hander had an uncharacteristic off-day, surrendering hits to the first two batters he faced before the Bobcats cashed in those runners with a sacrifice fly and RBI single up the middle. 

Brayden Theriot held off the Gauchos with three innings of one-run relief to lock down his third save of 2018. UCSB's best chance late came in the sixth, as redshirt junior DH Clay Fisher singled in junior right fielder Michael McAdoo – who hit a laser off the right field wall for a one-out double – and then moved into scoring position on a hit-by-pitch, but he was stranded at second. 

In the bottom of the final inning, Bobcats left fielder John Wuthrich made a potentially game-saving running catch in the left-center gap to keep Smith from a leadoff double or more. 

Game Two Recap

Early offense gave way to late pitching dominance in the nightcap of the doubleheader, as the teams took a 4-4 tie into the fifth inning and then blanked each other over the final four frames of the eight-inning contest. The game was called around 3:53 due to a travel curfew for Texas State.

The Gauchos grabbed an early lead in the second game thanks to a towering shot over the left field netting from Martinez to make it 1-0. A pair of singles followed by three walks from TXST starter Zachary Leigh allowed two more runs to come across in the second, giving UCSB a 3-1 edge. 

The Bobcats made their big charge of the game in the third inning, stringing together three singles and a two-run double from Wuthrich to briefly take the lead before Tommy Jew plated Fisher with a roller back through the middle to complete the scoring in the bottom of the fourth.

Junior right-hander Luke Andrews and freshman right-hander Chris Troye were the relief stars for the Gauchos in game two, combining to allow just two hits over 5 1/3 shutout innings. 

Andrews, a Bakersfield College transfer, retired the first seven batters he faced until allowing a leadoff single in the sixth. Troye was summoned at that point and, though allowing a base hit to the first batter he saw, went on to flash his potential by rolling up an inning-ending double play ball and eventually striking out six batters over his three innings of work, including an impressive top of the eighth that saw him record three straight swinging strikeouts. 

On the other side, a trio of Bobcats relievers combined to hold the Gauchos off the board over the final four innings. The Gauchos weren't able to get a runner into scoring position against the TXST bullpen until there were two outs in the eighth.

This is the fourth time in the last five years that UCSB has recorded a tie.