SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With first place in the Big West on the line, UC Santa Barbara swung and missed in both games of Saturday's crucial doubleheader.
The Gauchos could not capitalize on a stellar start from Rodney Boone in the opener as conference leader UC Irvine stormed back late for a 5-1 win.
Boone (8-3) cruised into the eighth inning before surrendering a game-tying solo home run to Thomas McCaffrey and then a double to Connor McGuire, who came around to score on a decisive three-run, bases-clearing double by Mike Peabody.
Boone allowed two runs on four hits, striking out seven and walking one.
McClain O'Connor doubled in the Gauchos' only run of the afternoon in the first game's fourth inning, but he then left the game with a leg injury. O'Connor missed nearly two months earlier this season with a leg issue.
UCSB managed only two hits in the nightcap, which the Anteaters won 6-0. Peabody again had the big hit of the game with a three-run homer.
UCI once again holds first place in the Big West. The Gauchos will look to salvage a series split in Sunday afternoon's finale.