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Gauchos lose first series in conference play

UC Santa Barbara outhit visiting Long Beach State 9-6 in Sunday’s rubber match at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium, but couldn’t come up with a big hit in an eventual 5-2 loss.

Despite getting at least one runner on in seven of nine innings, the Gauchos (11-14, 1-2 Big West) struggled to find a clutch hit, going 1-8 with runners in scoring position.

Long Beach State (16-11, 2-1) meanwhile had just three hits in 11 at-bats with runners in scoring position, but made those hits count.

The Dirtbags’ first rally came in the fifth, when leadoff hitter Brock Lundquist smoked a grounder off the glove of a diving Austin Bush to bring in a pair of runs and put LBSU up for good, making the Gauchos pay for an error and walk that put the first two runners of the frame on base. DH Luke Rasmussen followed with a one-hop double off the left field wall later in the fifth to extend LBSU’s lead to 3-0.

Left fielder Billy Fredrick put UCSB on the board in the bottom of the fifth with a sac fly to left – plating Sam Cohen after he, Tevin Mitchell, and Colton Burns all singled with one out – but it turns out that was as close as the Gauchos would ever get.

The two teams would trade run-scoring rallies in the eight before reliever Josh Advocate locked down the win with a scoreless ninth.

A pair of individual efforts stood out for UCSB despite the loss.

Burns, UCSB’s leadoff hitter, notched his second three-hit game of the week to lead the Gaucho offense. On the hill, starter Chris Clements recorded his second consecutive solid start, giving up two earned runs while pitching into the eighth inning. He was a tough luck loser in the contest, dropping to 1-4 on the year.

The Gauchos are right back in action tomorrow afternoon against Gonzaga at 12:00 p.m. will have a live audio broadcast of the game.

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