LONG BEACH, Calif. – Drew Williams delivered the game-winning, pinch-hit RBI single in the top of the ninth inning to lead the UC Santa Barbara baseball team to a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over Long Beach State in the series finale at Blair Field on Sunday afternoon.
In a game that saw 28 combined runners stranded on base, the Gauchos (23-24-1, 8-10 Big West) had runners in scoring position in the first five innings but continued its struggle to score after being shutout in game two and allowing 21 unanswered runs to the Dirtbags over the first two games.
LBSU (24-27, 9-9 Big West) extended that streak to 23 unanswered runs with an RBI double in the third and an RBI single in the fifth to take a 2-0 lead.
UCSB eventually broke through after Clay Fisher sparked a rally with a one-out triple to right field and came around to score on a Tommy Jew single. Thomas Rowan promptly followed with a double down the left field line to score Jew and tie the game at 2-2.
The Dirtbags threatened in both the seventh and eighth innings with runners in scoring position but relievers Alex Patterson and Josh Candau were able to get key strikeouts in pivotal moments of the game.
With two outs in the top of the ninth, Rowan got things started with an infield single and moved into scoring position on a Cole Mueller walk. After Blake Mann came in to pinch run for Rowan, and Williams came in to pinch hit, Williams proceeded to single to left to score Mann for the game-winning run.
Candau struck out two in the bottom of the ninth and quieted any chance of a comeback from LBSU, tallying his first career collegiate victory in the process after finishing with four strikeouts and allowing just one hit in 1.2 innings.
Chris Clements, who started the game, did not factor into the decision after tossing 4.1 innings, scattering six hits while allowing two runs, three walks with one strikeouts. Kevin Chandler, Ben Brecht and Patterson all made shutout relief appearances.
At the plate, Rowan finished 4-for-5 with an RBI while Fisher went 3-for-5 with a run and Mueller went 2-for-3 with two walks. The Gauchos outhit Long Beach 13-10 and neither team made an error.
UCSB hosts a midweek matchup against Cal State Bakersfield this Tuesday, May 15 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.