Feb. 11, 2007
SAN JOSE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara (1-1) earned a series split with a 6-5 victory over San Jose State (3-3) on Sunday in game two of what was to be a three-game series this weekend in San Jose, Calif.
After being blanked in Saturday's season-opener for UCSB, the Gauchos busted out with two runs in the first inning, two in the fifth, one in the eighth and the game-winner in the eleventh to capture their first victory of the 2007 campaign.
Leading the Gaucho offensive effort were seniors Matt Anderson and Mario Lewis, junior Mike Zuanich and sophomore Patrick Rose. Anderson had an outstanding day at the dish, finishing two-for-three with a double and an RBI. Lewis, a native of Santa Ynez, Calif., batted two-for-five with a homerun, a run scored and two RBI on the day. Zuanich finished two-for-five with a double, an RBI and the game-winning run scored. Rose, who started at third base for the Gauchos on Sunday, connected for two hits in six at bats, including a double and two runs scored against the Spartans. Freshman Matt Valaika also homered for the Gauchos in the win.
Senior left-hander Jeff Braun got the start for UCSB, lasting five innings while giving up three runs on five hits and two walks and striking out four hitters. Braun was in line for the victory after giving way to the Gaucho bullpen to start the sixth inning, but freshman right-hander Mike Ford surrendered a single run in two thirds of an inning of work to leave Braun with a no decision. In his Gaucho debut, Ford fanned the first batter he faced on four pitches. Junior lefty Kyle Brown was summoned next out of the Gaucho bullpen, contributing a hitless inning and a third. Senior Justin Segal came on in the eighth with a one run lead, but was unable to shut down the Spartan offense. Segal lasted two innings, but surrendered one run in the eighth to be tagged with the blown save and leave with a no decision. Senior Bryan Fleming was next out of the Gaucho pen, tossing two-thirds of an inning before giving way to junior left-hander Chuck Huggins. Huggins walked a batter before striking out Brian Chase to render the Spartan offense scoreless in the tenth en route to his first victory of the season. After UCSB took the lead in the top of the eleventh, senior Brian Tracy came in to earn his first save of the year, closing the door on the Spartans on Sunday.
Third baseman Sonny Garza and centerfielder Ryan Angel led the Spartan offense with outstanding days at the plate. Garza led the team in terms of average, batting four-for-five with two doubles and three runs scored on the day. Angel, who hit behind Garza in the lineup on Sunday, took advantage of his opportunities to hit with runners on base, batting two-for-five with a homerun, a run scored and three RBI. Spartan starter Josh Amberson lasted only 4.1 innings to earn a no decision in the game. Amberson surrendered four runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four on the day. Four Spartan relievers were used in the game on Sunday, with Steven Vidal getting tagged with the loss. Vidal tossed one inning, surrendering a run on two hits and a walk.
UCSB got on the board early, plating two runners in the top of the first inning. Junior leadoff man Chris Fox worked the count full before drawing a walk to jumpstart the Gaucho offense. On the ensuing play, Fox was picked off by Spartan catcher Justin Santich-Hughes. With one out, Rose and senior Robbie Blauer connected for back-to-back singles to put runners at first and second. After a strikeout tagged the Gauchos with the second out of the inning, Lewis came up clutch with an RBI single through the right side to score Rose and send Blauer to third. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, Anderson followed suit with a base hit to right field to plate Blauer and score the second and final run of the inning for UCSB.
After being shut down in the bottom of the first, San Jose State cut the Gaucho lead in half with one run in the bottom of the second. Following a leadoff strikeout, Garza singled through the left side to start the Spartan rally. After a wild pitch moved Garza to second base, Angel singled back up the middle to plate the first Spartan run of the game.
Neither team scored in the third inning, but the fourth proved fruitful for the Spartans as they plated two runs in the bottom of the frame. After two quick outs to start the inning, Garza once again got things started for San Jose State. This time it was a double over the head of Fox in centerfield that put Garza in scoring position for Angel. With Angel ahead in the count 2-1, he connected on a Braun fastball and homered to left field to give San Jose State the 3-2 lead.
The one-run advantage was short lived, as UCSB answered back with two runs in the top of the fifth inning. After seeing only one pitch in the at bat, Valaika connected for his first career homerun to even the score at three runs apiece. With one out in the inning, Rose doubled down the left field line to put himself in scoring position. After an intentional walk to Blauer put runners at first and second with one out, Zuanich singled into left field to plate Rose and give UCSB the lead once again.
The see-saw battle continued into the bottom of the sixth when the Spartans battled back to even the score at four with one run in the inning. After Ford struck out the first batter he faced, Garza once again was the thorn in the Gauchos' side. This time Garza doubled into the left centerfield gap before being moved over to third on a groundout off the bat of Angel. On the ensuing play, Garza hustled home after a Ford pitch got by Anderson behind the dish.
With the score knotted at four headed into the eighth inning, UCSB managed to plate its fifth run in the top of the frame. The big blow came off the bat of Lewis, who connected for a one-out blast that kept on carrying over the wall in right centerfield to put the Gauchos on top. For Lewis, it was his first homerun of the season.
Segal took the Gaucho lead into the bottom half of the inning, looking to earn his first save of the season with two innings of work. The submariner quickly found himself in trouble after hitting Kyle Bellows to start the inning. After a Garza single put runners at first and second, Angel lofted a deep fly ball into right field that allowed Bellows to tag-up and move to third base. With runners at the corners and one out, Segal was called for a balk and both runners were awarded ninety feet, handing San Jose the equalizer. Fortunately for the Gauchos, Segal was able to get out of the inning without further damage, leaving the score tied at five headed into the top of the ninth.
Neither team was able to plate a run in the ninth or tenth innings, but UCSB broke the stalemate in the eleventh with one run on two hits. The Gaucho offensive effort was slow to start in the inning, as San Jose State recorded two quick outs. With two out and the bases empty, Zuanich got things going for UCSB with a double into centerfield. After an intentional walk to Lewis put runners at first and second, sophomore Chris McMurray contributed the game-winning hit with a single down the right field line to plate Zuanich.
Tracy became the sixth Gaucho reliever to enter the game when he was summoned to close the door on the Spartan offense in the bottom half of the eleventh. The Presto, Pa. native cruised through the first two batters of the inning, inducing a ground ball and striking out one. With two out and no runners on, San Jose State's leading hitter through Sunday, Donato Giovanatto, strolled to the plate. Giovanatto was 0-4 entering the at bat, but he refused to go hitless, doubling down the left field line to put pressure on the Gaucho right-hander. Tracy, a four-year veteran of the Gaucho pitching staff, remained unaffected by the threat and got first baseman Daniel Fitch to ground out to seal the 6-5 Gaucho victory.
UCSB returns to action this weekend when it hosts Hawaii for a three-game set to open 2007 play at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos and Rainbows are slated to face-off at 2 p.m. on Friday, 1 p.m. on Saturday and 12 p.m. on Sunday.