SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—Austin Bush’s ninth home run of the season with one out in the bottom of the seventh proved to be the go-ahead run as the Gauchos defeated CSU Bakersfield 6-4 Tuesday afternoon.
Mark Pena led off the game with a double and came around to score on an Andrew Penner single. With one out, Max Carter’s single through the right side plated Penner. David Metzgar’s eighth sac fly of the year in the third allowed Pena to score for a 3-0 lead.
With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Billy Fredrick and Armani Smith recorded back-to-back singles. Kenny Johnson relieved starter Mathew Siebert to face JJ Muno. Muno loaded the bases with a single to left. Eric Yang grounded out to third that allowed Fredrick to score. Colton Burns cut the CSUB lead to one with a double that drove in Smith and Muno. Kenny Corey flew out to left to wrap up the inning.
Frederick opened the UCSB sixth with his third hit of the game, a single through the right side. Smith reached on a bunt single as Frederick advanced to second. Muno laid down a successful sacrifice bunt to push both runners up 90 feet. With the CSUB infield in, pinch hitter Josh Adams struck out looking. Burns, the Gauchos’ leadoff hitter, walked to load the bases. With the count 2-1 against Corey, Johnson balked in the tying run. Johnson battled back to strike out Corey to end the inning.
After Bush hit what proved to be the game winning home run, Metzgar extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a one-out single in the top of the eighth. Steven Ledesma relieved Chris Lincoln who had retired eight in a row prior to Metzgar’s hit. Carter brought the go-ahead run to the plate in Mahlik Jones with a single to left. CSUB called for a hit and run. Jones swung through the pitch as Dempsey Grover, the UCSB catcher, threw down to third. Metzgar was thrown out as Carter reached second safely. Jones grounded out to second for the final out.
Muno walked to lead off the Gouchos’ eighth and stole second with the count 1-2 on Grover. With one out, Burns stole third and came home on a throwing error by CSUB catcher Jake Ortega. Grotjohn walked to get the CSUB ninth underway. Ortega singled up the middle to bring up Robles.
With the count 2-0, Robles hit a shot in the right center gap that Tommy Jew tracked down for out number one. Pinch hitter Luis Martinez popped out to Shea Barry, the UCSB pitcher. Pena worked the Barry count to 3-0 before taking a called strike, fouling strike two off, and swinging through a Barry fastball for the final out of the game.
“Today, we let one go,” said CSUB interim head coach Jeremy Beard. “We had made some mistakes in pivotal times that we couldn’t overcome. The balk was a big deal. We did not execute at times including the hit and run in the eighth. That is not acceptable in close games.”
Metzgar has now reached base in 33 consecutive games. Penner earned his 14th multi-hit game of the year, as he was 3-for-4. Carter’s 2-for-4 day gave him his 13th multi-game of the season while Pena recorded his 11th multi-hit game of the year with a 2-for-4 performance. Fredrick led the Gauchos (18-20) as he went 3-for-3. Smith and Corey both put up two hits.
The Roadrunners (20-16, 6-6 WAC) complete a seven-game road trip with a Western Athletic Conference series this weekend at Sacramento State (20-20, 6-9 WAC). Friday’s first pitch is set for 6 p.m.