The 2021 Season Comes to a Close for UCSB

Jordan Sprinkle (Photo by Zachary BonDurant)
Jordan Sprinkle (Photo by Zachary BonDurant)

TUCSON, Ariz.—The 2021 season came to a close for UC Santa Barbara Baseball Sunday night, as the Gauchos were defeated in the Tucson Regional Championship by No. 5 Arizona 5-2. 

UCSB ends the season with an impeccable 41-20 overall record, which is the sixth most wins in program history. The Gauchos went 2-2 in their 12th NCAA Regional appearance and outscored its opponents 29-16. 

Following the completion of the Tucson Regional, Marcos Castanon and Rodney Boone were named to the All-Tournament Team. Castanon went posted a .500 batting average with 10 RBI, three doubles, a home run, and five runs. Boone was the starting pitcher in UCSB's opening win over No. 23 Oklahoma State where the lefty had 11 strikeouts in 7.1 innings to pick up his 11th win of the season. 

JD Callahan took the bump in the final game of the year and was solid early hanging a few zeros but would ultimately allow four earned in 5.2 innings of work. He struck out five and walked three. Nick Welch, Conner Dand, and Conner Robert followed him out of the bullpen and kept the Gauchos in the game allowing just one through the final 3.1 innings. Each had a strikeout.

On the offensive end it was Cole Cummings who led the way going 3-for-4 with an RBI to add to his already impressive regional performance. In all, the third baseman notched a .438 batting average with six runs, a triple, and three RBI. 

After playing visitor to the Gauchos in last night's matchup, the Wildcats returned as the home team for Sunday's rematch and was the first to score notching a one-run single in the bottom of the second. They followed that up with a sac-fly to take an early 2-0 lead.

A half-inning later UCSB answered as Gianni Bloom got aboard with a bunt single and moved to second on a groundout from Jordan Sprinkle. Cole Cummings was next cutting the Wildcat lead in half with a two-out RBI single to score Bloom.

The Gauchos threatened in several innings putting runners on the paths but were plagued by three double plays that kept runs off the board.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Wildcats extended their lead to 4-1 with a two-run homer to right field, but UCSB was quick to keep it close in the top of the seventh. Nick Oakley checked in as a pinch-hitter and reached first on a wild pitch. An error and a wild pitch later he came around to score and cut the lead to 4-2.

The final run of the tournament came in the bottom of the eighth, an RBI single for Arizona, to put the home team up 5-2.

With their backs against the wall, the Gauchos fought in the top of the ninth bringing the tying run to the plate, but could not bring him home as the Wildcats advanced to the Super Regional round.