HONOLULU, Hawaii – Down to its final strike in the ninth inning trailing by two runs, the No. 6 UC Santa Barbara baseball team did what it has done all season long and found a way to win. The Gauchos rallied for a 6-3 win in 11 innings to wrap up the series sweep over Hawaii and clinch at least a share of the Big West title in the process.
UCSB (44-7, 18-3 Big West) won its 13th consecutive game, tying its own program record for longest win streak set earlier this season. The 44 wins also breaks the program record for most wins against a Division I opponent in a season, previously set in 2016. The 1986 Gauchos, the last team to win a Big West title, won a total of 46 games, another record that UCSB will have a chance to break this weekend as they go for the outright title against rival Cal Poly.
In just the second game to go extra innings for Santa Barbara this season, the Gauchos found themselves trailing by two and down to their final strike with two on and Cole Mueller at the dish. Mueller managed to drive a clutch single up the middle to tie the game in the ninth and UCSB scored three more in the 11th to seal the deal.
Thomas Rowan drew a full count walk to lead off the 11th while Armani Smith and Tommy Jew followed with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Marcos Castanon drove in the go-ahead run with a sac fly to right before Michael McAdoo hit a two-RBI single to right to give UCSB a three-run cushion.
Chris Lincoln (4-1), on for his fourth inning of relief, got a 1-2-3 bottom of the 11th to clinch the come from behind victory and with it, the series sweep.
UCSB scored its only other run in the game in the third inning on a Rowan sac fly, and weathered a pair of Hawaii home runs on the Rainbow Warriors senior night, in front of a crowd of a 3,146.
McClain O'Connor went 2-for-6 out of the leadoff spot while Smith and Jew also had multi-hit games with 2-for-5 performances.
Freshman Rodney Boone got the no decision after going five strong innings, giving up two runs on five hits while striking out three. Trevor Beer and Shea Barry also were strong in relief before Lincoln finished it off, allowing three hits and one run in four innings of work, striking out three.
Hawaii starter Logan Pouelson was solid with six innings of work, striking out five and giving up just one unearned run on four hits.
UCSB will clash with Cal Poly for the outright Big West title in the final conference series of the year, beginning on Thursday, May 23 at 3:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Sellouts are expected for the Blue-Green Rivalry series, make sure to get your tickets here!