Zander Darby hit his third home run of the season in the third inning. | Credit: ENTENZA

Ivan Brethowr lined a single into right field with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning to put the finishing touches on UCSB’s 5-4 walk-off victory over Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday afternoon.

The victory concluded the Gauchos’ three-game sweep of the visiting Roadrunners and extended their winning streak to ten games.

“It’s hard to sweep anybody. It’s difficult to do that, but they matter in the standings,” said UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts. “In the end, having the ability to [complete the sweep] gives us the best shot to try and win a championship.”

The Gauchos got off to a rocky start as freshman starting pitcher Reed Moring was tagged for three runs in the top of the first inning on a home run by Cal State Bakersfield’s James Bell. 

Moring struggled early in his previou start against Cal Poly and only made it through 1.2 innings, but he was able to find his form against the Roadrunners and gave UCSB a chance to make up the deficit.

“I thought he did a nice job of recorrecting and settling in. He threw so many pitches in that first inning we had to get him out, but it felt like he did a nice job of bouncing back,” Checketts said. “Most freshmen, getting dinged like that, it goes sideways on them and you’re getting them in the second, so I was proud of how he hung in there and was resilient.”

UCSB got one run back in the bottom of the first when Broc Mortensen singled to left-center field to score Zander Darby, who walked earlier in the inning.

Mortensen and Darby struck again in the bottom of the third as both homered to even the score at 3-3. Darby homered to right field to lead off the inning, and two batters later, Mortensen homered to left field with two outs.

Broc Mortensen launched his third home run of the season in the third inning.

“I felt good just to get the ball off the bat like that. I knew the wind was blowing pretty good so if it got up in the air  good like that it had a chance,” Mortensen said. “It went out so I’m happy and I’ll take it.”

Tyler Bremner replaced Moring on the mound in top of the fifth inning and Cal State Bakersfield was able to manufacture an unearned run after multiple errors by UCSB and took 4-3 lead when Kyler Stancato scored on a throwing error.

The Gauchos evened the score at 4-4 on a sac fly by Josh Williams that scored Jonah Sebring. 

With the score still tied in the bottom of the ninth, Josh Williams led off the inning with a hard-hit ball to first base that was ruled an error. The next batter, Letrey McCollum, was trying to bunt but was walked. Jon Newman Jr. followed with a perfectly placed bunt down the third baseline that died on the chalk. 

Brethrowr came up to bat with the bases loaded and no outs. His single to right field scored Williams and a celebration ensued for UCSB.

UCSB (15-3 overall, 3-0 Big West) will host Cal State Northridge next weekend. The series opener is Friday, beginning at 5:05 p.m.


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