CBB: Gauchos stopped by Bakersfield

Sophomore catcher Paddy O’Brien went 3-5 and sixth-ranked UC Santa Barbara outhit its opponent 10-9 on Tuesday afternoon, but a pair of errors and unsuccessful sacrifice bunt attempts by the Gauchos proved to be their undoing in a 5-3 loss to CSU Bakersfield at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.


The loss for UCSB (34-11-1) was its first in a midweek game this season, as the team had previously been 8-0-1 in games played between Monday and Thursday.

The two teams battled to a 2-2 tie through four innings, but Bakersfield (29-17-1) scored a single run in each of the final three frames to pull ahead.

A crucial play in the game occured in the top of the seventh, when UCSB first baseman Austin Bush airmailed a throw to first trying to retire Ryan Grotjohn, who had laid down a sacrifice bunt. The errant throw allowed Mylz Jones, who had singled to open the inning, to score while putting Grotjohn on third with nobody out.

UCSB starter Domenic Mazza (5-1) actually recovered impressively from that scenario, getting three outs without allowing Grotjohn to come across. Still, the junior lefty took his first loss of the season after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits with no walks and another eight punchouts.

CSUB plated the game-winning run in the eighth, as DH Max Carter – who also got O’Brien to fly out to end the game and earn his second save – chopped a slow bouncer to UCSB third baseman Peter Maris, who couldn’t make the throw in time on a tough play, allowing Jordie Hein to come in from third.

The Gauchos had chances to punch back in the late stages, as they had the leadoff man reach in the seventh and the first two runners reach in the eighth, but too-hard sac bunts ended in rally-killing putouts at the lead base both times.

For Bakersfield, A.J. Monarrez earned the win for his first decision of the year. He was solid in 5 2/3 innings on the hill, allowing a pair of earned runs with three strikeouts. He made way for Carter in the ninth after allowing UCSB’s Billy Fredrick to single in a run that brought the Gauchos within two scores.

Maris extended his hit streak to 20 games with a couple of singles, and “Nice Play Clay” Fisher was spectacular on defense for UCSB, making a number of plays in the hole to help out Mazza and the Gaucho bullpen.

Sitting in a three-way tie for first place in the Big West Conference alongside UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton, the Gauchos will travel to the Orange County this weekend for their biggest series of the year so far, taking on the Titans in a three-game set starting on Friday night at 7:00 p.m. So far this season, the Gauchos have taken two of three in each of their four road series.

KZSB AM 1290 and UCSBGauchos.com will have live audio broadcasts of every game in the CSF series, with the Voice of the Gauchos Gerry Fall on the mic.