February 15, 2013

Gauchos Fall 8-1 to Fresno State in Season Opener

FRESNO, Calif. ­­— Untimely errors and a lack of clutch hitting doomed the Gauchos to defeat in their season opener at Fresno State's Pete Beiden Field, as UCSB fell to the Bulldogs by a score of 8-1. The Gauchos — who had four errors in the loss — fall to 0-1, while Fresno State improved to 1-0.

Sophomore lefty Andrew Vasquez suffered the loss despite giving up just one earned run. However, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native didn't help himself out by walking the first two batters of the game, both of whom would score following back-to-back RBI singles later in the first inning.

Those two runs would turn out to be all the difference, as the Gauchos squandered bases loaded opportunities in the fourth and sixth innings, the former especially painful since freshman utilityman Robby Nesovic squared up a ball nicely with one out, but lined it right to Fresno State shortstop Chris Mariscal, who easily doubled off senior infielder Marc Venning at second base.

Vasquez settled down in the two innings after his first inning struggles, but when the Bulldogs threatened again in the fourth, UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts brought in senior right hander Jared Wilson, who struck out Aaron Judge with the bases loaded to escape the frame without any further damage to the scoreline. Vasquez ended the night with 3 2/3 innings pitched and four strikeouts.

Wilson would not escape his entire outing unscathed however, allowing two runs on an errant pickoff throw in the fifth inning and giving up a three run homerun in the sixth which put the game out of reach for Fresno State. Still, the Cypress, Calif. native did an admirable job in long relief, giving up just four hits over 4.1 innings of work and preserving the rest of UCSB's bullpen.

The Gauchos would tack on a run in the seventh inning, when sophomore first baseman Tyler Kuresa singled home sophomore outfielder Cameron Newell with runners on second and third to avoid the shutout.

Junior second baseman Parker Miles had a tough day with the glove, but was the only Gaucho to have multiple hits, going 2-5 with a pair of singles. UCSB matched Fresno with eight hits apiece, but the Gauchos had no extra base hits and just one hit with runners in scoring position.

Fresno State's William Munro earned the win, throwing five scoreless innings and allowing just three hits. Garrett Mundell picked up a three inning save, striking out three and allowing just one run.

Bulldog leadoff hitter Jordan Luplow terrorized the Gauchos, reaching base and scoring three times while swiping four stolen bases to spark the Fresno State offense. First baseman and cleanup hitter Trent Garrison went 3-4 with a pair of RBIs, while catcher Austin Wynns went 2-5 with four RBIs.

The Gauchos and Bulldogs will do battle again tomorrow night, with UCSB's Austin Pettibone (8-3, 4.44 ERA in 2012) opposing Fresno State's Derick Velasquez at 6:35 p.m., with the series finale on Sunday afternoon.

UCSB's home opener will take place against No. 5 UCLA on Tuesday at 2 p.m. For tickets to that game, and all home games this season, click here.