SANTA BARBARA, Calif.— The Gauchos have made their case for the postseason as UC Santa Barbara baseball swept Cal State Bakersfield Sunday afternoon. UCSB scored in all but two innings to defeat the Roadrunners 11-5 and end the regular season on an eight-game win streak.
JD Callahan was the man to start tossing 4.1 innings of one-run baseball. He struck out six in the no-decision. Entering in the fifth with one out and Runners on the corners was Carter Benbrook (7-1), who on one pitch escaped unscathed, as he tipped a comebacker to O'Connor at second base, who then fired over to first for the double play. The freshman tossed 1.1 innings and allowed one run on three hits in his seventh win of the season.
For the second straight game the Gauchos got on the board in the bottom of the first as Marcos Castanon collected his fourth RBI of the series, slicing a single through the infield to score Cole Cummings. Heads up base-running by Castanon a few at-bats later would guide him home to give UCSB the early 2-0 lead.
CSUB notched its first run of the day in the top of the second, but as they have all weekend, the Gauchos were quick to respond in the bottom half. The top of the order came around with two outs and made the most of the opportunity as Jordan Sprinkle collected a hustle-double and was brought in on a stand-up RBI triple for Cummings.
In the bottom of the fifth, Broc Mortensen stepped to the plate with one on and one out and cushioned his conference home run lead with a two-run bomb to the left-center that put the Gauchos up 5-1. He finishes the regular season as best in the Big West with 15, which is tied for the sixth most in program history.
The Roadrunners threatened in the middle innings scoring a run in the sixth and two in the seventh, but once again the Gauchos managed to mirror the visiting team with three of their own. In the bottom of the sixth it was Sprinkle and Cummings pairing up again with two outs as Sprinkle singled and was brought in by an RBI double from Cummings. In the seventh it was Castanon crushing the second home run of the series and Kyle Johnson notching an RBI single to extend the UCSB lead to 8-4.
The final nail in the coffin came in the bottom of the eighth as Kyle Johnson stepped in with two outs and the bases loaded and took a ball to deep left center for a bases-clearing 3 RBI double to put the Gauchos up 11-4.
The Roadrunners notched the final run of the weekend in the top of the ninth to make the final score 11-5.
The Gauchos out-hit the Roadrunners 15-11 with six of those hits going for extra bases. Seven different hitters accounted for the 15 with six of them notching multi-hit efforts. Cole Cummings led the way going 3-for-4 with two RBI and two runs and falling just a home run short of the cycle. Castanon went 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBI. Johnson ended with a team-best four RBI on his 2-for-5 line.
UCSB will now look to tomorrow's NCAA selection show scheduled for 9 AM on ESPN2 to see if its season will continue with an invitation to a NCAA Regional.