An elimination game against host Stanford resulted in an 8-4 loss for the UCSB baseball team, bringing the 2022 campaign to a close.
The Gauchos led 2-0 and 4-3, but couldn’t hold down Stanford’s potent lineup and bowed out of the postseason at the hands of the Pac-12 champions, who are the No. 2 overall seed in the NCAA tournament.
UCSB finished the season with a 44-14 overall record, a Big West Championship and third consecutive trip to NCAA regionals.
“Another great year for our guys. You are always torn when you get to this part of it. You have all the emotions of saying goodbye to your older guys and being proud of them for all that they’ve done,” said UCSB coach Andrew Checketts. “The other part of it, the coach part of it is you think how do we break through and get back to Omaha.”
The Gauchos scored their runs on two-run homers by Nick Vogt in the third inning and Kyle Johnson in the fifth inning, but only mustered five hits overall.
A strong performance by UCSB starting pitcher Ryan Gallagher set the stage for UCSB to take an early lead. His final state line was 4 earned runs in five innings pitched and he left the game after surrendering a single to left field to Eddie Park to lead off the top of the sixth inning after 104 pitches.
Stanford scored their eight runs on 15 hits and scored in five consecutive innings after being held scoreless by Gallagher in the first three innings.
The Cardinal were led by Brock Jones, who went 3-for-5 with two runs batted in and two runs scored. Stanford catcher Kody Huff went 4-for-5 with two RBI’s and two runs scored.
Quinn Matthews came out of the bullpen for Stanford to start the fourth inning replacing opener Drew Dowd and was nearly flawless outside of Kyle Johnson’s two-run homer in the fifth inning.
“He’s left handed so it starts there. A lot of our bigger hitters are left handed: Klassen, Johnson, Willits, Mortensen,” Checketts said. “Him being left handed kind of equalizes those guys a little bit.”
UCSB’s overwhelming success this season came as a surprise to Checketts after several key members of last year’s team moved on.
“I did not foresee this. I was hoping that we just didn’t suck,” said Checketts candidly. “I think these guys got every last squeeze out of themselves.”