SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. – Sophomore centerfielder Tommy Jew went 2-for-4 and junior designated hitter Tevin Mitchell, sophomore left-fielder Armani Smith, and freshman first baseman Cole Mueller picked up an RBI apiece in a late comeback bid, but the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos couldn't dig themselves out of a 7-0 hole and ultimately lost 9-3 against Cal Poly (27-27, 12-9 Big West) in the final game of their Big West series at Baggett Stadium. This series marked the third time in three years that UCSB (24-27-1, 8-13 Big West) was swept by their Blue-Green rivals in Big West play.
Cal Poly picked up their first run with two outs in the bottom of the second inning. Singles from both right-fielder Bradlee Beesley and second baseman Scott Ogrin meant left-fielder Josh George was able to bring in Beesley on a single through the 4-3 hole on the first pitch he saw from the Gauchos' starting junior RHP Chris Clements.
The Mustangs extended the lead two innings later, thanks to an Ogrin RBI double and a three-RBI double from designated hitter Kyle Marinconz to jump ahead to a 5-0 lead.
Cal Poly then tacked on two more in the bottom of the fifth inning with the bases loaded after first baseman Elijah Skipps was walked, catcher Nick Meyer hit a double along the left field line, and Ogrin reached on a walk, and shortstop Dylan Doherty scored Meyer and Skipps with a two-out single to right field.
The Gauchos were held scoreless until the top of the seventh inning when Smith's groundout brought freshman second baseman Andrew Martinez across home plate to score the first run of the afternoon for the visitors. With freshman Marcos Castañon at second after reaching on a fielder's choice in his pinch-hit appearance for freshman third baseman Jason Willow, another pinch-hitting decision by UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts paid off with Mueller's RBI single making the score 7-2.
In the latter half of the inning, the Mustangs restored the seven-run advantage with RBI doubles from Meyer and Beesley, in a combined 5-for-9 day for both batters.
The Gauchos continued their late rally in the top of the eighth after Jew's second single of the day and a Cal Poly defensive error that allowed junior catcher Thomas Rowan to reach base set up runners on the corners for UCSB. Mitchell doubled with two outs to score Jew to make the score 9-3, but the Gauchos struck out in the next at-bat and were sat down in order in the top of the ninth to secure the victory for the hosts.
Clements dropped to 1-2 on the season in his third consecutive Sunday start, while junior RHP Alex Patterson, sophomore LHP Ben Brecht, and sophomore RHP Liam Steigerwald appeared in relief. Michael Clark (4-6) earned the win for Cal Poly, pitching 7.1 innings and allowing two runs.
The Gauchos begin their season-ending four-game homestand tomorrow with a midweek matchup against the Portland Pilots at 2:00 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. start but was moved up by an hour to accommodate Portland's travel arrangements.