UCSB Baseball: Gauchos Fall on Wrong Side of Pitchers’ Duel

UCSB vs Oregon on June 1, 2024 (courtesy)

The No. 14 UC Santa Barbara Baseball team got 6 2/3 strong innings out of starter Tyler Bremner and held Oregon to just two runs on Saturday, but the Ducks held Santa Barbara to just one run in the game, giving Oregon a 2-1 victory. The Ducks advance to the Santa Barbara Regional Final, while the Gauchos will have to win an elimination game against San Diego to stay alive and get another crack at the team in green.

FROM HEAD COACH ANDREW CHECKETTS

“We went for it today,” Checketts said. “We know the value of staying in the winner’s bracket and doing everything you can to win today because you gotta win one more game after that to move on. If you lose, you gotta win three. So we’re aware of that.”

HOW IT HAPPENED

Saturday’s game was a duel between two elite sophomore pitchers, Santa Barbara’s Bremner against Grayson Grinsell. Both young men put their devastating changeups to work over the first six frames, scattering eight hits and allowing no runs between the two of them over that span. Gaucho fans thought Aaron Parker had broken the tie with a deep fly ball in the top of the fourth; it had home run distance but hooked foul.

In the top of the sixth, Jessada Brown’s lead-off double and savvy steal of third got the crowd on its feet, and the Gaucho supporters really found their voice when Nick Oakley walked to put runners on the corners with one out. With two outs, the Gauchos tried to steal a run, first putting Oakley in motion looking to start a rundown, then attempting a straight steal of home with Brown. Neither worked.

The duel continued afterward, with Bremner striking out the first two Ducks he faced in the sixth, then watching Jonah Sebring turn nothing into something with his outfield defense. The Gauchos’ centerfielder came up just short on his sliding attempt to snag a dying liner, but he recovered and fired the loose ball into second in time to throw out the runner.

Oregon got the first run of the game in the bottom of the seventh, with a runner initially called out trying to steal second put back on the basepath after video review. That runner came around to score on a single. A sac bunt and a wild pitch ended Bremner’s evening with two outs in the frame as Flora relieved him. The rookie got out of the inning on a wild play, throwing behind the runner at third base, then watching Zander Darby fire across the diamond to try and pick the runner off of first. Justin Trimble initiated a rundown, then chased the lead runner all the way to the plate. The Gauchos’ first baseman stumbled at the last minute but the runner was ruled out of the basepaths trying to avoid Trimble’s tag.

A lead-off double in the bottom of the eighth brought Reed Moring out of the Gaucho bullpen and a pinch-runner on second for Oregon. Moring got a strikeout then made way for Matt Ager. A wild pitch put Santa Barbara in an even tougher spot, and an RBI groundout gave the Ducks a second run. The infield was playing in, but shortstop Jonathan Mendez accurately deduced he had no play at home on the high chopper. Ager got out of the inning without any further damage.

With the crowd back on its feet, Parker got plunked by the first pitch of the ninth inning, then Oakley turned the volume up by cranking a deep fly ball foul down the right field line. The Santa Barbara native ended an eight-pitch at-bat with a ringing double down the right field line, sending Parker to third. Trimble’s one-out walk loaded the bases, but a strikeout brought the Gauchos down to their final chance. Brendan Durfee strode off the bench and took a 1-2 pitch off his back foot to drive in Santa Barbara’s first run of the night. Ivan Brethowr followed him to the plate with the bases still loaded, but he grounded out to third.

BY THE NUMBERS

  • Saturday was Tyler Bremner’s third career outing against Oregon, his first start. After his 6 2/3 innings of one-run ball Saturday night, his career line against the Ducks reads: 11 2/3 innings pitched, eight hits, two runs allowed (both earned) with four walks and 17 strikeouts.
  • Jessada Brown continued his strong weekend at the plate, going 2-for-4 with a double to extend his hitting streak to 23 games.
  • While Saturday was the Gauchos’ first loss at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, they are yet to lose a game in which they bat second this season. They will bat second (and wear white pants) as the home team against San Diego in their next game.

UP NEXT

The Gauchos will face San Diego in an elimination game on Sunday, June 2 at 12 noon. The winner of that game will advance to face Oregon in the Regional Final, Sunday at 6 p.m. Tickets for both games will go on sale at 9 a.m. Sunday morning. The Gauchos’ game against the Toreros will be broadcast on ESPNU.

UCSantaBarbara

Written by UCSantaBarbara

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