Castanon's Walk-Off Lifts UCSB Over UC Davis 6-5

Marcos Castanon (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Marcos Castanon (Photo by Tony Mastres)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The UC Santa Barbara baseball team earned its game one win over UC Davis in walk-off fashion Friday night, as Marcos Castanon gave his team the 6-5 win on an RBI double in the bottom of the ninth.

With the win UCSB improves to a 12-7 record with a 3-2 conference mark, while UCD drops to 5-14 with an 0-5 record in Big West play.

Michael McGreevy stepped in the bump in Friday's series opener and did his job, tossing six innings of two-run baseball, but unfortunately would earn a no-decision thanks to a late three-tun inning for the Aggies. The sophomore allowed eight hits, but no walks, and struck out five.

The win went to Carter Benbrook, who nearly earned the loss due to three unearned runs scoring under his watch, but the Gaucho offense provided a run in each of the last three innings to give the freshman his first decision of the season. He tossed three total innings of two-hit ball and struck out three, with no earned runs.

Despite getting out-hit and having several hiccups on the defensive side, the Gauchos found a way to win scoring runs in five different innings to go up 1-0 in the series.

Castanon was the soul Gaucho to notch multiple hits going 2-for-5 with a run and two RBI. Zach Rodriguez and Steele Ledford each notched an RBI as well.

The Gauchos took an early lead in the bottom of the first as Broc Mortensen singled to center on a ball that would just get under the glove of the diving Aggie centerfielder, allowing Castanon to move to third. Rodriguez was next to bat collecting an RBI groundout to take the lead.

UC Davis woke up shortly after putting up back-to-back runs in the third and fourth to take its first lead of the afternoon.

UCSB was quick to respond posting two runs of its own in the bottom of the fifth to regain the one-run lead. With one on and two out, the Gauchos strung a pair of hits together and capitalized on an Aggie error. Cole Cummings notched a single that would give the Aggie defense fits and allow Kyle Johnson to go from first to home and ice the game at 2-2. Castanon was next singling to right field to score Cummings and take a 3-2 lead.

In the bottom of the seventh, Jordan Sprinkle would lead off the inning collecting four bases on a triple. He lasered a ball to center and showed off the wheels whipping around second base, flying into third. The Aggie defense would make the throw over from the cutoff, but the ball sailed past the bag allowing Sprinkle to sprint home and dive head-first into the plate.

Now down 4-2, the Aggies did exactly what they needed to and found a way to score three runs on the Gauchos to regain the lead 5-4. Once again Gaucho errors put the game in jeopardy late as UCD needed just six more outs to end its five-game skid.

Down one, UCSB got the game-tying run in the bottom of the inning with Mortensen reaching on an HBP with one out. Rodriguez moved him over on a tough infield hit and Ledford iced the game with an RBI double down the left line.

Benbrook retired the Aggies in order in the top of the ninth to give his team an opportunity, and his teammates thanked him with the program's second walk-off of the season.

Once again the Gauchos took advantage of Aggie miscues as Cummings reached on an error. With one on and one, Castanon stepped to the plate and poked a double down the right-field line to walk it off.

The Gauchos will look to claim the series tomorrow in the Saturday doubleheaders.