Highlanders Spoil Castanon’s Return

Marcos Castanon (Photo by Eric Isaacs)
Marcos Castanon (Photo by Eric Isaacs)

RIVERSIDE, Calif.- Despite Marcos Castanon going 2-for-4 with a double and a walk in his return to the field, the UC Santa Barbara Baseball team was outscored 7-2 by UC Riverside in game two of a three-game slate.

This marked the first time UCSB dropped two straight which puts the Gauchos at 31-7 on the year and 8-3 against Big West competition.

The Gauchos loaded the bases in the first on a Thomas Rowan single up the middle followed by a pair of walks by Armani Smith and Tommy Jew. With the bases juiced, Andrew Martinez wasn't able to put the ball in play and UCSB stranded three base runners.

Jack Dashwood opened up throwing heat with five strikeouts in the opening two frames, yet UCR scored the initial run of the game after a wild pitch in the first.

Martinez left another two base runners in scoring position in the top of the third when he grounded out to end the inning.

All together, UCSB walked eight times and stranded 11 base runners as the Gauchos were unable to capitalize with runners on.

To break this one open, UCR's Travis Bohall lifted a high fly ball down the right field line that resulted in a one-out triple.

On the following pitch, Dean Miller lined a shot at Jason Willow in right field, but Willow's knee buckled on the play and Miller came all the way around to score.

While Willow previously played center field for the Canadian National Team, this was his first start in the outfield this season. The sophomore left the game with a knee injury immediately after the play. Willow limped to the dugout his own control.

For his third home run in two games, Connor Cannon then belted a solo shot to the batter's eye in center on the ensuing at bat, his conference leading fifteenth blast of the year.

Dashwood was pulled after 4.2 innings, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and striking out nine batters.

Eyeing a comeback in the top of the eighth, Castanon doubled down the left field line to advanced Martinez to third and threaten with only one out.

In a pinch hit situation, Christian Kirtley ripped a base hit between third and short to score Martinez and get the Gauchos on the board.

After Mason Marquez replaced Kirtley as a pinch runner on first, McClain O'Connor doubled on a sharp liner to left. Castanon came around to score and with speedy Marquez at first, the Gauchos looked to push their luck and tack on another.

Only a perfect throw would hang Marquez to dry at the plate, and that's exactly what Riverside's third baseman delivered to end the inning with the scoreboard settled at 5-2.

The loss is the first accredited to Dashwood this season to move his record to 6-1 on the year.

Rowan and Eric Yang both went 2-for-4 while Yang, Castanon, and O'Connor eached legged out extra-base hits. Smith and Tevin Mitchell also recorded hits during the contest.

UC Santa Barbara Baseball closes out its three-game series against UC Riverside on Sunday afternoon with 1 p.m. first pitch at the Riverside Sports Complex in Riverside, Calif.