No. 5 UCSB Baseball fell (37-12) to USC (25-25) in a neck-and-neck 5-4 midweek game Tuesday night. The Gauchos had opportunities to take the lead throughout the game, but left 13 total runners on base.
JD Callahan earned the start and pitched 5.1 innings in the no-decision. He collected two strikeouts and gave up only one run earned.
Nick Vogt extended hitting streak to 21 straight games, going 1-for-2 with a pair of walks.
Christian Kirtley and Bryce Willits extended their on-base streaks to 37 and 35 straight games, respectively. Kirtley also had a double and RBI.
Kyle Johnson went 2-for-4 with a walk and a double.
John Newman Jr. had two hits, two RBI, and his second home run of the season.
Zander Darby hit his seventh home run of the season.
Determined to avenge their loss, UCSB came out heavy on defense, not letting Trojans past second base for three innings straight.
USC scored a single run off a double play in the fourth frame, but Callahan ended the inning before the visitors could score again.
The Gauchos responded with an opposite field homer by Darby at the bottom of the inning to tie the game.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the eighth, USC scored two runs on bases-loaded walks, giving them the lead 3-2.
Tensions were high as the game descended into the last innings. USC scored another two runs off a single RBI to go up 5-1.
In the bottom of the frame, Vogt walked and Kirtley doubled to left field to bring him home and close the lead to 5-2. Mortensen’s ground out advanced Kirtley to third, and then it was Newman Jr. with a bomb to left field to bring Kirtley home to make it a one-run game. Johnson was next, nearly homering to right to tie the game, but the ball fell just short of the fence for a double. UCSB had the tying run in scoring position but Trojans closed it out to win 5-4.
UCSB will end the home season taking on UC Riverside in a three-game series and hope to claim the Big West title with a pair of wins. Game one is set for Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.