After trouncing Vanderbilt on Saturday, the Xavier Musketeers looked to get to the Nashville Regional final. Standing in their way were the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos, one of the better teams in the country as they went into the NCAA Baseball Tournament within the ranks of the Top 25.
The run for Xavier, which was of course highlighted by their 15-1 take down of the Commodores on Saturday, came to an end at the hands of the Gauchos who held on for a 5-4 victory. The Big East regular season champions will now look to avoid elimination in a later contest against Washington on Sunday night.
Xavier was plagued by ineffectiveness with runners in scoring position against UCSB. The Musketeers hit merely 3-for-12 with RISP Sunday afternoon and just 4-for-15 with runners aboard. Despite the fact that they shelled out 11 hits in the contest, they could only plate four runs, leaving plenty of opportunities on the board in a game that could certainly com back to haunt them if they were to lose later on against the Huskies. UCSB didn't fare much better as they hit 2-for-8 with RISP but were 5-for-14 with runners on.
Pitcher Trent Astle was shelled in his 3.1 innings of work. Astle gave up eight hits, five earned runs, and three XBH including a home run served up by first baseman Austin Bush in the top of the first inning where the Gauchos peppered the Xavier hurler with three runs.
The Musketeers chipped and chipped away after the lead was extended to 5-0 in the top of the fourth following a Clay Fisher double that brought home two runs. However, their rally simply was not enough as the Musketeers must now stave off elimination to force a rematch with UCSB on Monday afternoon.
Leading the way for UCSB was Fisher who hit 3-for-4 with 3 RBI and his big two-bagger in the fourth inning. Centerfielder Andrew Calica hit 2-for-3 on the afternoon as well. David Morton, X's designated hitter, had a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a double, a home run and 2 RBI.