Feb. 1, 2002
Santa Barbara, Calif.- With darkness closing in on the UCSB baseball team, Josh McCanne turned on the lights for his Gauchos, and turned off the light for Loyola Marymount.
Had McCanne gotten out with two outs and the bases loaded in the ninth inning of a 4-4 tie ball-game, the game would have been called due to darkness. However, the junior from Mammoth, Calif., came up mammoth for the Gauchos, blasting his first home run of the year over the leftfield fence to win the game for the Gauchos 8-4. The homer came off Vincente Cordova (0-1), who takes the loss for Loyola Marymount, now falling to 1-1 on the season. Matt Moran (1-0) pitched a perfect final 1.2 innings to get the win for the Gauchos, improving to 1-1.
The Lions jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the first off Gaucho starter James Dayley. The junior from Paul, Idaho then quickly tamed the Lion offense by throwing shutout ball for the next four innings.
Dayley pitched into the sixth, but gave up three straight singles which earned him a early trip to the showers. Dayley was replaced by Sean Thompson, who limited the Loyola Marymount damage to one run, holding the Gauchos lead at 3-2.
In the seventh inning Matt Wilkerson smacked a towering solo-home run, his first as a Gaucho, that cleared the left field fence by plenty, increasing the UCSB lead to 4-2.
In the eighth Alex McRobbie came in to pitch for the Gauchos and ran into some trouble. After getting a spectacular defensive play by shortstop Josh Fulton, who snared a sharply hit ball up the middle and on the run gunned out the Loyola Marymount runner to get the first out of the eighth inning, things began to fall apart. Following a single by Kris Zacuto, Fulton underthrew McCanne at first on a grounder by the next batter, Tommy Perez, putting runners at second and third. The next batter, Christian Campos, came up clutch for the Lions lacing a single to center scoring both Zacuto and Perez. After walking the next batter, McRobbie was replaced by Matt Moran, who came in and shut down the Lion offense by yielding no more baserunners for the rest of the game.
The Gauchos did not score in the eighth, but Moran shut down Loyola Marymount in the top of the ninth, setting up the finish in the bottom of the ninth.
After a groundout by Dave Licht, centerfielder R.J. Smith reached first on a throwing error by the shortstop, Micheal Carroll, putting him on second. The following batter, Nate Sutton, grounded out to first, moving Smith to third. With two outs and a runner on third, Spilborghs, the Gauchos top hitter, came up to bat. Rather than pitch to Spilborghs, the Lions opted to intentionally walk him and also intentionally walked Wilkerson, who had homered in his previous at-bat. In stepped McCanne with two outs and the bases loaded, and proceeded to hit the walk-off grand slam, winning it for the Gauchos.
The Gauchos will resume play against the Lions tomorrow at 1:00 pm. in the third and final game of the series. Following an off-day on Sunday, the Gauchos will host BYU on Monday, for a 2:00 pm. showdown at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.