SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - For the eighth straight time, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team dropped yet another decision to its Blue-Green rival, Cal Poly, as this time, a three-run eighth inning for the Mustangs proved to be enough as they beat the Gauchos 4-2.
UCSB (24-26-1, 8-12 Big West) has now lost eight straight against Cal Poly, and in the Andrew Checketts era, the Gauchos are just 7-17 overall against the Mustangs. With a win today, CP has now elevated its standing to third in conference play and is just 0.5 game out of second.
It was the Gauchos who jumped out to an early lead as a Tommy Jew homer in the fourth inning put the visiting team up 1-0. The Mustangs would come back to tie the game in the bottom half of the fifth frame, but UCSB would again respond with a Drew Williams double to left field score what would be the game-leading run in the top of the sixth to make the score 2-1 in favor fo the 'Chos.
After a scoreless seventh inning, Cal Poly came to the plate knowing it had just six outs to make a play. In the bottom half of the eighth, Alex McKenna, who saw his 12-game hitting streak come to an end, drew a walk to begin the frame. After a sacrifice bunt by Kyle Marinconz moved McKenna to second, Tate Samuelson reached base on a fielding error, putting runners at first and third with one out.
After a fly out, junior catcher Nick Meyer came up to the plate with just one out in the inning. Meyer then worked a two-run base knock to put Cal Poly up in front 3-2, and it never looked back. Meyer is now hitting .457 against left-handers and .348 with runners in scoring position this season as the Mustangs would add one more run before the top of the ninth to take 1 4-2 advantage heading into the final inning of play.
Freshman right-hander Taylor Dollard, who earned a save in Friday's 5-3 triumph, retired UCSB in order in the ninth Saturday with two fly balls to the outfield and a game-ending strikeout to earn his fifth save of the season.
Despite pitching a great game, starter Chris Lincoln took home a no-decision after allowing two runs, one earned, and five hits over seven innings with one walk and four strikeouts. Freshman Josh Candau earned the loss for the visiting Gauchos as he allowed the final two runs of the frame.
For the second straight day, UCSB outhit Cal Poly but still lost the game.
The Gauchos will look to salvage the series at noon tomorrow at Baggett Stadium.