Gauchos' Season Ends at Stanford Regional

(Photo by Bill Truong)
(Photo by Bill Truong)

STANFORD, Calif.- To culminate the 2019 season, UC Santa Barbara Baseball was edged 6-4 by Sacramento State at the Stanford Regional.

"It's hard to sum up [the emotions]," said an emotional Thomas Rowan. "I'm just thankful to have been here for a great five years. A lot of ups and a lot of downs… this team is going to be back at a regional next year."

The Gauchos' season comes to an end with a 45-11 overall record while the Hornets live to see another day at 40-24 this season.

Sac State struck first with a solo home run to left in the bottom half of the second to take an early lead. Later in the inning, a single to left drove in one more which put the Hornets on top 2-0 after a pair.

Gaucho starter Jack Dashwood kept it tight until the fourth when he allowed a leadoff single and a one-out double as Sac State threatened again.

A two-out single from the Hornets drove in a pair and extended the Sac State lead to 4-0 which brought Dashwood's day to an end.

Dashwood finished with 3.2 innings pitched, allowing four runs over eight hits while striking out three in the no-decision.

In the top of the fifth, UCSB got on the board with a two-out single from McClain O'Connor to score Marcos Castanon from third. O'Connor advanced to second on a heads up baserunning play which made it a 4-1 game.

Andrew Martinez worked a walked in the following at bat to bring up Eric Yang. What looked like a sure single up the middle was stolen by a diving play from the Sac State shortstop to get out of the frame after just one run of damage.

Following a leadoff walk from Rowan and a double from Armani Smith in the sixth, the Gauchos suffered a heartbreaking moment on the field.

Captain Tommy Jew chopped a grounder to third and legged out an infield single, but immediately fell to the ground wincing in pain. Jew was carted off the field with an apparent ankle/leg injury. Michael McAdoo entered the game as a pinch runner.

"I didn't want that to be the last time I played with Tommy [Jew]," said Rowan. "He's going to have a great career. Everybody that's moving on is going to have a great career."

On the following at bat, Marcos Castanon drilled a sac-fly to center to score Rowan, and two batters later, another run scored when Tevin Mitchell was hit by a pitch to cut the lead to 4-3.

With runners on second and third and two down in the sixth, Shea Barry entered the game and abruptly struck out the next batter to get out of the jam.

To leadoff the eighth, pinch-hitter Christian Kirtley ripped a double to left to get things started for UCSB. The freshman advanced to third after a passed ball, and ultimately came across the plate with a wild pitch from Sac State to tie the game up at 4-4.

"I'm just looking to give my team a chance," said Kirtley on his approach at the plate. "Our pitching kept us in the game and our hitting kept us in the game. It just came down to me looking for a pitch to hit and that's what I got."

After a promising two innings of work from Barry, Chris Lincoln entered the game and inherited a pair of runners. In the following at bat, the Hornets hit a two-out double off the left-field wall to take a late 6-4 lead.

With 45 wins against Division I opponents, UCSB Baseball set the single-season program record. The Gauchos also set a school record with 13 players named to an All-Big West team.

"[The veterans] left a great legacy," added Kirtley. "A terrific culture. I have to keep carrying on the brotherhood that they left. We'll keep picking each other up and maintain the strong leadership that these boys left us with."