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UCSB Drops Series Finale to No. 22 UCLA

Christian Kirtley and Kyle Johnson (Photo by Kevin Cannon)
Christian Kirtley and Kyle Johnson (Photo by Kevin Cannon)

LOS ANGELES, Calif.— UC Santa Barbara baseball dropped its second straight game to No. 22 UCLA Sunday afternoon falling to the Bruins 11-3 at Jackie Robinson Stadium. The Gauchos kept it close through the middle innings, but a seven-run seventh sealed the series win for UCLA. 

Despite the result, the Gauchos found something to celebrate in Sunday's game as their eight strikeouts gave them the all-time single season strikeout record that was broken in 2019. UCSB struck out 507 batters in 2019 and is already at 510 in the 2021 season with two more four-game series to go.

Cory Lewis earned the start for the visiting Gauchos and after allowing four runs in the first two innings settled in to throw three zeros on the board. He ended with 5.1 innings of work, fanned seven batters, and allowed just five hits. 

Offensively, the Gauchos collected seven hits with six different players accounting for the effort. Zach Rodriguez led the way going 2-for-4 with an RBI.

The Gauchos kicked off the series finale with back-to-back walks by Broc Mortensen and Cole Cummings and cashed in as Zach Rodriguez collected an RBI single up the middle to make it 1-0.

UCLA answered with four runs in the next two innings, including a three-run second inning to take control 4-1.

In the top of the fourth Kyle Johnson inched his team closer notching a lead-off home run to right-center to give him homers in back-to-back games for the first time this season. Cummings collected a one-out double in the top of the fifth and Jordan Sprinkle cut the lead to 4-3 with an RBI single.

UCSB had the tying-run 90 feet away and the leading-run in scoring position in the top of the seventh, as Mortensen and Rodriguez reached again and moved up on wild pitch. Unfortunately, Johnson was unable to ice the game popping out to short for the third out. 

Seven more runs came across for UCLA in the bottom of the seventh securing the 11-3 win for the host Bruins.

The Gauchos will now return to Big West play where they are set for a four-game road series at UC Riverside.