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UCSB Pull Off More Late Heroics to Beat Gonzaga

Less than 24 hours after pulling off a thrilling comeback over UC Irvine on ESPNU, UC Santa Barbara found late-inning magic again on Monday afternoon, plating three in a ninth-inning rally to capture a walk-off 6-5 win over WCC foe Gonzaga at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. 

Trailing 5-3 heading into the last of the ninth, UCSB (36-16-1) set the table for the winning rally with three straight singles to open the inning. Dempsey Grover shot a base hit down the left field line to lead it off. then Sam Cohen rolled one back up the middle before Tevin Mitchell fooled everyone with a slash single through a vacated left side of the infield. 

With the bases loaded and nobody out, Gonzaga (33-17) went to closer Wyatt Mills to try and put out the fire. 

Pinch-hitter Ryan Cumberland brought in the first run of the inning with a sac fly to deep right, also allowing Joseph Hamilton to tag from second. That paid dividends moments later when JJ Muno slapped an opposite field single to left for another run. 

Aggressive baserunning paid off big time for UCSB once again later in the inning when Mitchell tagged to third on a medium depth flyout to right from Clay Fisher and then came in for the walk-off run when the side-arming Wyatt hurled one way outside against Austin Bush for a wild pitch. 

For the day, outfielders Billy Fredrick and Devon Gradford had three hits apiece to lead the Gaucho offense, though Mitchell and Muno were right behind them with a pair of hits each. 

With a hot start, Gonzaga looked like it was on its way to a win in its final regular season game of the year, as Tyler Frost hit a bases loaded double in the first to put the Bulldogs up 3-0 before UCSB even had an at-bat. 

After UCSB answered with two runs in the bottom half – one run came in on a Fredrick double to right field and another came in on a solid RBI base hit to left from Mitchell – Gonzaga DH Nick Brooks put his team up 5-3 with a mammoth two-run homer over the left field netting.

UCSB starter Kyle Hatton, similar to Joe Record yesterday, settled down after a shaky opening to his outing. On the mound for all five of Gonzaga's five runs, he went on to shut down the Bulldogs over his final four innings.

Right handers Kevin Chandler and Noah Davis – making just his second appearance since May 1 – added scoreless innings at the back end of the game, meaning the Gauchos kept the visitors off the board for the final six innings of the contest. Davis was rewarded with the win to improve to 4-2 on the year. 

Calvin LeBrun, who took the loss for the Bulldogs, pitched 4 2/3 innings of shutout relief before faltering in the ninth. 

The Gauchos will wrap up the regular season with a three-game series against UC Riverside starting at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday. The 64-team NCAA Tournament field will be announced next Monday, May 30. 

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