Oklahoma State fell to UC Santa Barbara 13-3 in an elimination game of Tucson Regional.
Much like Game 1 of the regional on Friday, the Cowboys had few answers for the Gauchos’ bats — and even fewer for Marcos Castanon.
After beating OSU 14-4 on Friday afternoon, UCSB got blanked 4-0 by Arizona in a Saturday night game. But the Gauchos’ bats warmed back up quickly in the sweltering Arizona sun, running up 13 scores and taking a commanding lead early on.
Castanon was a problem. He brought in five runs in four at-bats, including a bases-clearing, three-run double to give the Gauchos a 6-0 lead in the second. In two games against the Pokes in Tucson, Castanon went 8-for-10 with 10 RBIs.
UCSB had a season-high 18 hits against OSU on Friday and had 10 by the end of the third inning Sunday. That was enough to put the Pokes in an 11-0 hole that proved to be too deep. The Gauchos ended with 16 hits on Sunday.
OSU did well to strand two runners in the top of the first. Corey Lewis, UCSB’s specialist on the mound, retired Max Hewitt, who was moved into OSU’s leadoff spot today, and then stuck out Caeden Trenkle.
Christian Encarnacion-Strand worked it to 10 pitches before singling to right field, before he was beat to third base for the third out. That was the closest the Cowboys would get to a run for five innings. The Cowboys finally got on the board in the top of the seventh on a Nolan McLean RBI groundout that scored Carson McCusker.
OSU starter Mitchell Stone gave up two runs in the bottom of the first and then, an inning later, found himself in serious trouble.
A mishandled bunt between first and second basemen, turned a should-be sac bunt into a two-runners-on situation. Another bunt and UCSB had the bases loaded with no outs. What resulted was barrage of hits and runs to give the Gauchos an 8-0 lead through two innings.
Trevor Martin took over on the mound for the final two outs of the second. In the third inning, he appeared headed to the dugout with two quick outs before a walk and two different wild pitches put the Gauchos on second and third setting up Castanon to blow things open with that three-run RBI double.
When you give up 11 runs in three innings, it’s hard to speak glowingly about the Cowboys’ pitching staff, but Noah Sifrit probably had the best day, namely he was the was able to hold the Gauchos to just one run in four innings. More importantly, he was the only one who could retire Castanon. He struck out the blazing batter in the fourth.
On the other hand, Lewis pitched a masterful game for the Gauchos. In eight innings, he allowed just four hits and one run while striking out five and walking three.
Like I said after the loss on Friday, you’ve got to give UCSB’s offense a heap of credit. The Gauchos steal bases, they play strategic small ball and just put pressure on a defense. The Gauchos stole five bases, including two double steals.
The Cowboys went 1-2 in the regional with a 5-3 win over Grand Canyon sandwiched by the two big losses to UCSB. OSU ends the season 36-19-1. OSU has made the postseason in every year since 2015, aside from 2020 when the NCAA Tournament was canceled because of COVID-19.
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