SANTA BARBARA, Calif. – Tommy Jew hit a walk-off sacrifice fly to the warning track in right field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the 10th inning to give the UC Santa Barbara baseball team a 6-5 victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
With the win against a future Big West opponent, the Gauchos move to an even .500 with a 24-24-1 record while the Roadrunners fall to 18-33.
After a scoreless first inning, the Gauchos strung three runs together in the bottom of the second to jump out to an early lead. Eric Yang worked a one-out walk and moved into scoring position on a sharply hit single to center by Jason Willow. With two on, Cole Kleszcz cashed in both runners with a double down the left field line on a 0-1 count. An Andrew Martinez walk later in the frame kept the inning alive with two outs and Clay Fisher promptly followed with an RBI single down the left field line to make it 3-0.
The Roadrunners, however, responded with three runs of their own in the top of the fourth inning, utilizing back-to-back doubles followed by a towering, two-run homerun to left field off the bat of Luis Martinez to tie the game at 3-3.
The score did not stay tied for long as the Gauchos tacked on two more in the bottom half of the fourth on a two-RBI single up the middle from Tommy Jew, scoring Armani Smith and Fisher who singled and doubled, respectively, to start the rally.
Following the back-and-forth theme of the day, CSUB tacked on a run in each of the sixth and seventh innings to even the score at 5-5.
Dazzling defense from Fisher at shortstop in the eighth inning preserved the tie score and UCSB had a chance to bring the go-ahead run across in the eighth, after Smith walked and advanced to third after a wild pitch and passed ball, but was left stranded.
The Gauchos threatened once again in the bottom of the ninth, getting runners to second and third after Cole Mueller singled and Yang was hit by pitch, and both advanced on a wild pitch, but CSUB was able to get a strike out to end the inning.
UCSB continued to put the pressure on in the 10th inning, this time loading the bases with one out after Drew Williams led off with a hit-by-pitch, Andrew Martinez singled up the middle and Clay Fisher hit an infield single in the 5-6 hole. That set the stage for Jew, who stroked a ball deep to right to bring home Williams with ease for the game-winning run.
Fisher finished 3-for-5 at the plate with a walk, a run and an RBI while Jew finished with a multi-hit game going 2-for-5 with three RBI. Kleszcz went 1-for-3 with two RBI and a run scored.
Joshua Candau (2-0) earned his second straight win for UCSB after getting the final two outs of the 10th inning, while Liam Steigerwald and Chris Troye both made scoreless relief appearances. Starter Luke Andrews allowed six hits and three earned with three strikeouts in four innings pitched.
For Bakersfield, six different pitchers saw the mound in a staff game with Steven Gee being handed the loss after being responsible for the game-winning run in the 10th.
UCSB returns to Big West play with the Blue-Green Rivalry series this weekend at Cal Poly, beginning on Friday, May 18 at 6:00 p.m.