SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team was only able to muster four hits in Friday's outing against Cal State Northridge (20-24, 8-8 Big West) as it dropped the game 6-4.
"We were not able to do much offensively. Their [CSUN] starter did a great job and we fell apart in the middle of the game," Head Coach Andrew Checketts said. "We are a little short and because of that, I have a slower hook since we need to fill innings for this whole weekend."
With the loss, UCSB (21-19-1, 6-7 Big West) is now under .500 in conference play. With 11 games left in conference play, UCSB is certainly running out of time to make things interesting in the Big West.
Santa Barbara started the evening good as sophomore Tommy Jew was able to knock a solo shot into right field to give his team the 1-0 lead. That homer was the center fielder's fourth of the season.
CSUN retaliated with a big fly of its own in the top of the second before UCSB added two more in the bottom half of the frame to take an impressive 3-1 lead through two innings.
The Matadors would again add another run in the top of the third to cut the lead down to one but UCSB still held the momentum.
That started to change in the top of the fourth inning as sophomore right-handed pitcher Chris Lincoln started experiencing some problem in his back.
"He hurt his back, so he had to come out of the game. His velocity was way down, he was not in the strike zone and we thought it best to get him out. We will find out more tomorrow," Checketts said.
To his credit, Lincoln was still able to work his way around a runner on third and keep the lead for the Gauchos through four innings. The Moreno Valley native finished the evening pitching four innings allowing just two earned runs while adding three strikeouts to his team-high 46 K's on the year.
Unfortunately, with Lincoln's departure so to did the Gauchos lead as in the top of the fifth, CSUN worked two RBI singles off of junior Kevin Chandler to take a 4-3 lead. The Matadors would add two more runs in the top of the sixth to add to their lead and take a three-run lead.
It was a tough outing for Chandler as the righty finished the evening allowing six hits and four earned runs in two innings of relief work.
As that was going on, CSUN's starting pitcher Walker Armstrong went the distance against the Gauchos. He would finish the out the match going the full nine innings allowing just four hits and four earned runs.
UCSB would tack on one more run in the bottom of the seventh inning thanks to a home run from junior Thomas Rowan but would not get a hit the rest of the evening.
"CSUN's pitcher did a good job but we gave some at-bats away. We had some leverage, some pitches to hit and never did anything to really take advanatage," Checketts said.
One bright spot was lefty freshman Josh Candau who pitched the final three innings of the game and allowed just one hit. Helping him do so was freshman second baseman Marcus Castanon who made two spectacular jumping catches to steal a couple of would-be base hits for the Matadors.
The Gauchos will take on the Matadors for game two tomorrow at 2 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.