SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— Nine innings was not enough to decide the winner of game one of the weekend series between the UC Santa Barbara baseball team and visiting University of Illinois- Chicago. The Friday night matchup went into the tenth where freshman Nick Vogt would be the hero hitting a two-out, walk-off RBI single on a pinch hit to win it for the Gauchos.
"I was just trying to stay calm and hit something hard," Vogt said. "You have to stay ready at all times and when your name is called step to the plate."
Sophomore southpaw Rodney Boone took the ball the start for UCSB and caught fire quickly notching two strikeouts in the first inning and retiring the first six batters in order. He allowed a lead-off triple to begin the third inning, but stranded the batter there sitting down the next three Flames, all on swinging strikeouts.
He would finish the night after completing 7.1 innings of work and limited the Flames to just two runs on three hits, while striking out a career-high tying 12 batters.
Junior pitcher Connor Roberts (2-1) would enter in relief and toss the final 2.2 innings allowing just two hits to pick up the win.
The Flames got on the board in the first turning a lead-off double in the fourth inning into a run after a pair of wild pitches to take the 1-0 lead.
The Gauchos trailed for six full innings before finally breaking through on the Flames' starter Jacob Key in the seventh. With one out, sophomore Steele Ledford moved junior Jason Willow over to third base on a single through the right side to put Gauchos on the corners. Junior Gianni Bloom was next crushing a perfect sac-fly to right field to tie the game at 1-1. Ledford then gave his team the lead finding home plate on a Flame error.
The 2-1 lead was unfortunately short lived with UIC answering in the very next inning on a game-tying home run. The Gauchos threatened in the bottom of the eighth juicing the bases with two outs but the Flames escaped unscathed. The game would require extras to crown a winner.
In the tenth junior Marcos Castanon collected a one-out single that pushed sophomore Christian Kirtley over to second base. Willow was next up grounding out to short, but a beautifully called hit-and-run would keep the Flames from turning two and instead the Gaucho runners advanced.
With two-outs, head coach Andrew Checketts elected to send in Vogt to pinch-hit and take advantage of a righty-lefty matchup. The move would prove to be brilliant as Vogt sent a walk-off single straight up the middle to win the game.
UCSB will go for the series win tomorrow in game two of the series.