Gauchos Score Late to Win Thriller Over UC Davis

Peter Maris (by Michael Moriatis)
Peter Maris (by Michael Moriatis)

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Two big hits tied Sunday's game for UC Santa Barbara but it was a non-hit by the Gauchos that ended up winning the game.

Steven Moon and Ryan Palermo each hit solo home runs in the sixth and seventh innings, with each shot tying the score against UC Davis, which might have been enough to rattle the Aggies.

With runners on the corners in the eighth inning, Harry Stanwyck uncorked a wild pitch, which allowed Peter Maris to score the winning run in a 3-2 thriller that went the Gauchos' way. UCSB won the series and improved to 23-19 overall and 9-6 in the Big West.

That was the cherry on top of the Gauchos' day after the defense got out of a big seventh inning jam.

With a run home to break a 1-1 tie, the Aggies loaded the bases when Greg Mahle hit David Popkins with a pitch. Paul Politi followed with a blooper into center field that Brett Vertigan had to lay out for in making a sensational diving catch to keep the game close.

Palermo's solo shot tied the game and then an inning later Maris led off with a double.

Joe Winterburn tried to sacrifice him over, but his bunt was too good and he reached on a single putting runners on first and third with nobody out. After an out and with Vertigan up, Stanwyck unleashed a wild pitch which allowed Maris to score easily with the go-ahead run.

UC Davis (16-23, 4-8) put runners on first and second in the ninth on an infield single and a hit batter, but Mahle got Politi to hit a weak ground ball to Moon to end the game.

It was fitting for Moon to end the game since he was the one who got the Gauchos going.

He blasted his first career home run well over the netting and the scoreboard in left field, which was only the second hit allowed by Tom Briner in the game at that point. Moon's shot tied the game at 1-1 and set up the late inning theatrics.

Zak Edgington allowed one earned run on seven hits in 6.1 innings pitched with a walk and two strikeouts. Mahle, who went 1 for 3 at the plate, pitched 2.2 scoreless innings to secure the victory.

The Gauchos play at UC Irvine next weekend in a three-game series. All three games can be heard live online by clicking here and in Santa Barbara on AM 1290 with the pregame show starting a half-hour before first pitch.

The baseball team will hold a Huddle on Saturday following the game and all fans are invited. For more information, click here, or call Christina Baglas at (805) 893-5372.

Video: Baseball: 4/29: UCSB goes 2-1 against UC Davis
Apr 29, 2012