CBB: Riverside beats Gauchos, Jacome

RIVERSIDE  – Despite a gutsy performance from junior southpaw Justin Jacome, No. 8 UC Santa Barbara couldn’t muster enough offense against UC Riverside starter Joie Dunyon, who held the Gauchos to five hits while pitching into the ninth inning of a 3-2 Highlanders win on a balmy Friday night at the Riverside Sports Complex.

The loss snapped a six-game win streak for the Gauchos (40-14-1, 16-7), who were eliminated from contention for an outright Big West title. UC Riverside improved to 14-40, 3-20.

BOX SCORE

Making the final start of his collegiate career (and on ESPN3 to boot), Dunyon turned in the start of a lifetime against the Gauchos, allowing one earned run (two total) with four punchouts in 8 2/3 innings.

After holding UCSB off the board for the first six innings of the contest, the senior right-hander started leaking oil in the last third of the game, prompting visits from UCR head coach Troy Percival in the final three frames as he allowed single runs in the seventh and eighth.

Trailing by a run, the Gauchos made one last attempt to tie it in the ninth, but were ultimately unsuccessful. A Cameron Newell walk started the frame, with the UCSB left fielder moving to second on a Luke Swenson sacrifice. After a hit by pitch, the Gauchos got the tying run within 90 feet on a failed double play attempt by the Highlanders.

To his chagrin, Percival decided to lift Dunyon in favor reliever Ryan Lillie, but the move turned out as effective as possible, with the freshman right-hander flipping three straight sliders past UCSB’s Robby Nesovic for a backwards “K.”

UCR scored all three of its runs in a first inning rally that featured six hits off Jacome.

A majority of the damage came on cleanup hitter Vince Fernandez’s two run-double into the left-center field gap, with the final run coming on an Austin Colvin RBI groundout.

In reality though, the inning could have been much worse for the Gauchos, as the Highlanders had their leadoff runner picked off at first – Jacome’s league-leading eighth of the year – and stranded two runners in scoring position.

As he did in a prior start against Cal Poly, Jacome bounced back admirably from that first inning hiccup, giving up just five hits while shutting out the Highlanders in his ensuing seven innings on the hill. He added six strikeouts in the contest while walking none for the second time this year.

At the end of the day, he was handed his second complete game loss of the season, dropping to 7-4 on the campaign.

A night after making his first appearance for the Gauchos since fracturing his right leg on Apr. 12, junior Dalton Kelly drew the start at first base on Friday, and he was the one who opened the scoring for UCSB with an opposite field single to bring in Woody Woodward.

Senior infielder Peter Maris was mere feet away from tying the game for UCSB in the eighth, but he instead settled for a run-scoring triple off the fence in right-center field with two outs. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, they could not push Maris across by the time the third out was recorded.

UCSB will look to rebound for a series win tomorrow afternoon, with sophomore right-hander Shane Bieber (8-3, 2.26) slated to take the mound for the Gauchos opposed by lefty Kevin Sprague (3-7, 5.12). First pitch is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. and, as with the previous games of the series, will appear live on ESPN3.

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