Gauchos Fall for First Time in April

Eric Yang
Eric Yang

RIVERSIDE, Calif.- The UC Santa Barbara Baseball team dropped its first loss since March 30 on Friday evening in a 9-4 result against the UC Riverside Highlanders.

The Gauchos move to 31-6 overall and 8-2 in the Big West following the loss that snapped their program record 13-game win streak.

UCSB struck first to take the lead in the top of the opening frame when Eric Yang drove a base hit past the diving Riverside shortstop. Yang advanced to third on a pass ball and eventually scored when Armani Smith grounded into a fielder's choice to put the Gauchos on top 2-0.

Yang led the Gaucho bats going 2-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored. This marked the catcher's nineteenth multi-hit game of the season.

Firing right back, UCR retook the lead in the bottom half of the inning after a fielder's choice cut the Gaucho advantage to one followed by a two-run home run by Connor Cannon to give the Highlanders a 3-2 edge.

A pair of doubles by Yang and Thomas Rowan drove in another two runs to put UCSB back on top 4-3 in second. Yang's two-bagger moved Tevin Mitchell from first to third, and Rowan's scored two for half of the Gaucho RBI on the night.

Three straight hits in the bottom half of the third inning was enough to give Riverside the 7-4 lead capped off by another two-run homer by Connor Cannon, his fourteenth of the season.

Cannon's 14 home runs this year leads the Big West Conference and while the power hitter set the new single season record for UC Riverside.

Riverside extended its lead 8-4 in the bottom of the fifth when Yeager Taylor jumped on a fastball and lifted just past the leaping Armani Smith over the right field wall.

Ben Brecht suffered his first loss of the season which moves him, to 7-1 this year after pitching 4 innings, allowing seven earned runs and striking out three in the process.

In relief, Kevin Chandler had his longest outing of the season with 3.2 innings of work, allowing two earned runs along with four strikeouts.

UCR threw five pitchers and walked eight batters, however UCSB was unable to capitalize and left eight on base.

Smith, McClain O'Connor and Jason Willow also recorded hits for the Gauchos while Yang, Smith, O'Connor, Willow, and Andrew Martinez each stole a base.

Back in action Saturday evening at 6 p.m., UC Santa Barbara Baseball looks to bounce back against UC Riverside at the Riverside Sports Complex in Riverside, Calif.