Gauchos Surge Past Roadrunners

Armani Smith hit a three-run homerun on Tuesday to help the Gauchos rally past Cal State Bakersfield 9-5 on the road. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Armani Smith hit a three-run homerun on Tuesday to help the Gauchos rally past Cal State Bakersfield 9-5 on the road. (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Armani Smith hit a game-tying three-run homerun in the fourth inning and Andrew Martinez hit a two-run homerun in the fifth to give UC Santa Barbara the lead for good as the Gauchos rallied for a 9-5 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday night at Hardt Field.

Taking a break from Big West action with a midweek non-conference matchup against a future Big West opponent, UCSB (21-18-1) has now won four of its last five and improves to a season-high three games over .500.

The host Roadrunners took advantage of back-to-back errors from the Gauchos to take an early 1-0 lead after the first inning.

UCSB responded in the top of the second after Eric Yang led off the frame with a double down the left field line and came around to score on a Marcos Castanon single up the middle.

CSU Bakersfield used an RBI double and a two-RBI single as part of a three-run third inning to regain the lead, 4-1, but the Gauchos would respond once again in the next inning.

After a walk to Yang and another Castanon single, Smith drove his fifth homerun of the season, tying not only a UCSB team-high in that category, but also tying the game 4-4.

In the fifth, the Gauchos took the lead for the first time and did not look back as Martinez knocked a two-run homerun to center, his fifth of the season as well to keep pace with teammate Smith for team-high honors along with Sam Cohen.

UCSB tacked on another in the seventh on a Tommy Jew sacrifice fly, scoring Tevin Mitchell who walked to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a Drew Williams single and a CSUB error.

The Gauchos brought home two more runs in the eighth to put the game in the rear view mirror, capitalizing on three hit-by-pitches to load the bases before a walk to Mitchell and a sac fly from Martinez.

Luke Andrews (2-1) picked up the win after tossing 7.1 strong innings, allowing just four hits and four earned runs while striking out four and walking two. Joshua Candau struck out two in 1.2 innings of relief.

Aaron Charles (2-4) was tagged with the loss for Bakersfield after allowing two runs in two innings in a staff game that saw the Roadrunners throw eight different pitchers.

At the plate, Martinez finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored while Smith went 1-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Castanon and Mitchell also provided multi-hit games while Mitchell scored a game-high two runs along with Smith and Yang.

The Gauchos return to conference play this weekend with a home series against CSUN, beginning on Friday, May 4 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.