Thomas Rowan and Armani Smith hit back-to-back home runs in the second inning and Jack Dashwood was dominant with 10 strikeouts in 7.2 frames to lead the No. 22 UC Santa Barbara baseball team to a series clinching win with a 5-3 victory over Missouri State on Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
UCSB (16-3) improved to 9-1 at home with the win and has now won all four of its three-game series this season. It was also the first time this year the Gauchos’ pitching staff did not walk a batter, and reached double-digit strikeouts (11) for the 13th time in 19 games.
Dashwood (4-0) supplied 10 of those K’s on his way to his fourth victory of the year. The 6-foot-6 lefty struck out four of the first five batters he faced, and took a perfect game into the fifth inning before allowing a base hit. He finished allowing just two runs on five hits and lowered his ERA to 2.61.
After a scoreless first, the Gauchos got on the board behind back-to-back home runs from Rowan and Smith, the second time UCSB has hit back-to-back home runs this season. Rowan led off the inning with a shot to dead center, his third of the year, while Smith followed with a line drive to left center that bounced off the top of the wall and over for his team-leading sixth of the year, and second this series.
Missouri State (5-15) tied the game in the fifth on back-to-back RBI hits with two outs, and threatened for more with runners on second and third, but Dashwood returned to form for the strikeout to end the inning.
To lead off the sixth, Tommy Jew walked and promptly stole second, setting up a go-ahead RBI single for Smith to give UCSB a 3-2 lead.
The Gauchos tacked on two more behind some small ball and heads up base running in the seventh. Andrew Martinez worked a full count walk to lead off the inning and raced over to an unoccupied third base after a textbook sacrifice bunt from McClain O’Connor. A Tevin Mitchell groundout to second brought home Martinez, and a Bears miscue on the play allowed Mitchell to reach second. The speedy Mitchell stole third, his second of the game and 11th of the season, and came around to score on a sacrifice fly from Eric Yang.
Missouri State got one back on an RBI double after a rare UCSB error in the ninth, but Chris Lincoln closed the door for his fifth save of the year. Lincoln tossed the final 1.2 innings, allowing just one strikeout with no earned runs and just one hit.
The Gauchos and Bears recorded just six hits apiece in the game, with Smith the only player on either side with multiple hits. He finished 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs while Rowan went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run and Mitchell finished 1-for-3 with an RBI and a run.
UCSB and Missouri State wrap up the series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.