An 11-inning seesaw battle saw UCSB drop the series finale against UC Davis, 18-14, on Sunday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. After relinquishing a 13-12 lead in the bottom of the ninth, the Aggies scored five times in the top of the 11th to take the series, 2-1. The Big West Conference‘s top two teams combined for five lead changes, 32 runs scored and 42 hits in Sunday’s roller-coaster contest.
UCSB (23-11 overall, 5-1 in conference) jumped out to an early lead in the bottom of the first, scoring three runs. With the bases loaded and one out, Shane Carlson found a hole on the left side of the infield, singling home Brian Gump and Chris Fox, to give the Gauchos a two-run advantage. Patrick Rose laced a 1-2 pitch down the right field line, scoring Mike Zuanich from second to make it 3-0.
The Aggies (23-11, 5-1) countered in the top of the second as Kyle Mihaylo ripped an RBI double to right center field, scoring Evan Hudson from first. Gauchos starter Chuck Huggins (6-1) retired Matt Dempsey to get out of the jam.
UC Davis tied things up in the top of the third with a pair of runs. After Carlson’s errant throw on a double play ball extended the inning, Aggies catcher Jake Jefferies lined a two-run double down the right field line, tying the game, 3-3. Designated hitter Ryan Scoma put the Aggies in front, 4-3, with a seeing-eye RBI single up the middle.
UCSB knotted things up in the bottom of the fourth on Steve Cook’s RBI single through the left side.
Aggies center fielder Ryan Royster broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the sixth with a two-run single into right field. Royster’s hit chased Huggins, who allowed nine runs — six earned — on nine hits in 5.1 innings of work. He struck out three and walked only one.
Michael Martin came on in relief and immediately allowed a single and a two-run double before inducing two consecutive groundouts to get out of the inning. The Aggies’ five-run sixth inning put them ahead, 9-4.
The Gauchos mounted a rally in the bottom of the seventh when Carlson drove in Fox with an RBI single up the middle, to bring the Gauchos within three, 9-6. With runners on second and third, Rose worked the count full before ripping a two-run single down the right field line. It was Rose’s fourth hit on the day and it moved the Gauchos within one, 9-8.
With one on and two down, Matt McColgan belted a go-ahead two-run home run high over the left field fence. McColgan’s third long ball of the season put the Gauchos in front, 10-9. The rally would continue, as Cook, a junior transfer from SBCC, doubled into the left center field gap. Gump followed with an RBI double off the right field wall, and Fox added an RBI single of his own. After seven innings of play, the Gauchos held a 12-9 lead.
With the bases loaded and two outs in the top of the eighth, Jason Roenicke came on in relef of Martin and Scoma blooped a ball over Carlson’s head at shortstop for a two-run single. The runs brought UC Davis to within one, 12-11.
With two out in the top of the ninth, Royster hit an RBI single up the middle to tie the game, 12-12. With Royster on first, Ty Kelly hit a soaring fly ball down the right field line. Cook ranged into shallow right but it fell in for a go-ahead RBI double.
The Gauchos would not go down without a fight. In the bottom of the ninth, Gump singled home Gunnar Terhune to tie the game again, 13-13.
The tie wouldn’t last long as Davis broke through for five runs in the top of the 11th. Royster, a thorn in the Gauchos side all day, broke the tie with a sacrifice fly RBI, scoring Grant Bauer from third to put the Aggies in front, 14-13. Davis wasn’t done, and they scored four more times in the inning. Jefferies’ two-run double put UC Davis ahead, 16-13. The Aggies would tack on two more runs in the frame, taking a commanding five-run lead into the bottom half of the 11th.
The Gauchos scored once in the bottom half, but were unable to muster another late-inning rally, eventually falling, 18-14.
Justin Fitzgerald (3-1) picked up the win for the Aggies with 3.1 solid innings of relief work. Zach Samuels (2-2) took the loss for the Gauchos, allowing five earned runs in 1.2 innings of relief.
Jefferies had a career day, going 5-for-7 with three runs scored and six RBIs. Royster and Scoma both added four RBIs.
Rose led the way offensively, going 4-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Carlson went 2-for-6 with three runs scored and three RBIs. Terhune went 4-for-6 with two runs scored and an RBI.
Seven of the nine Gauchos starters recorded multihit games. In all, 24 position were used, along with 11 pitchers. The Gauchos’ 14 runs and 21 hits were the second highest totals of the season.
Click here for Saturday’s official box score and play-by-play.
At 2 p.m. Tuesday, UCSB hosts Westmont at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.