No. 28 Gauchos Split Saturday Doubleheader with Hawai'i

Christian Kirtley (Photo by Tony Mastres)
Christian Kirtley (Photo by Tony Mastres)

HONOLULU, Hawaii— No. 28 UC Santa Barbara baseball split its Saturday doubleheader on the island with Hawai'i taking game one 5-4 before falling in game 6-5. UCSB now holds an overall record of 17-8, with an 8-3 conference mark, while UH stands at 12-9 and 4-7. 

Game One
The first edition of the doubleheader saw Rodney Boone earn his fifth win of the season tossing seven innings of work and only allowing three runs off of four hits. He struck out a season-high 11 and now owns a 1.86 ERA on the season.

Following Boone out of the pen was Carter Benbrook who finished off the final two innings earning his first save of the season.

UCSB jumped out to a commanding 5-0 lead through five innings. Jordan Sprinkle opened the scoring on an RBI single to left field by Zach Rodriguez in the top of the first.

The Gauchos doubled their lead in the second courtesy of a Gianni Bloom RBI to bring home Christian Kirtley. Kirtley went on to finish a perfect 3-for-3 with three RBI.

In the third, Broc Mortensen led off with a walk and Zach Rodriguez followed with a single through the right side. With two outs, Kirtley singled to left to score both runners and make it 4-0. 

Kirtley secured his season-high third RBI of the game in the fifth, via a sac fly resulting in a run for Bryce Willits who had started the inning with a double. Hawaii's offense finally responded in the bottom of the sixth, cutting into the Gaucho lead with a three-run homer by Jacob Igawa.

Another Rainbow Warrior run in the eighth made it just a one-run deficit. However, Benbrook struck out all three batters in the bottom of the ninth to close things out.


Game Two
In the day's second game, UCSB would outhit Hawaii 11-7 but fall just short in a 10-8 defeat. Five different Gauchos posted multi-hit efforts, with Cole Cummings and Kirtley tallying a pair of RBIs each. 

Santa Barbara once again opened things strong, taking a 2-0 lead by the end of the first. Sprinkle scored on a Kirtley double and Cummings made it home on a Rodriguez sac fly.

In the following inning, Cummings added a 2 RBI double to extend his team's lead to 4-0. The Rainbow Warriors responded with a four-run bottom of the second and added runs in the fourth and fifth to take the lead 6-4.

UCSB made it a one-run game in the seventh with Kirtley striking once again with an RBI single through the left side to make it 6-5. The Gauchos had bases-loaded with two outs in the ninth but could not get a runner across as UH earned its first win of the series.

Freshman Cory Lewis earned the start but would exit in the third with four earned off of four hits. Conner Roberts would earn the decision taking his second loss of the season having given up the game-winning run in the seventh.

UCSB will look for the series win tomorrow afternoon.