Feb. 7, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara's baseball team opened Pepperdine's first annual Battle at the Beach Tournament with a win over No. 11 Houston, 4-2. The game started with a pitcher's dual between the team's two aces, Matt Vasquez and Houston's Brad Sullivan. However, by the end of the game it was apparent that the dual would be between the two teams' entire pitching staffs as the game lasted twelve innings.
At the time of the first pitch, over 50 radar guns pointed towards the mound outnumbering the amount of fans. The pitching dual between Gauchos ace Matt Vasquez and Houston's Brad Sullivan did not disappoint the fans or the scouts. The two matched each other inning for inning until giving way to their respective bullpens. Vasquez allowed only two Cougar hits in six innings, and Sullivan gave up two hits as well adding six strikeouts.
The Cougars proposed the first threat of the game in the second inning when an error by shortstop Greg Powers put leadoff hitter Stuart Musslewhite on second base with no outs. The error did not affect Vasquez's poise as he retired the next three batters.
UC Santa Barbara went hitless until designated hitter Taylor Vogt singled up the middle with one out in the top of the fifth inning. After a Josh McCanne pop-up, freshman Matt Emerick ripped a single past the second baseman advancing Vogt to third. With two outs catcher Chad Ziemendorf ripped the first pitch of his at bat, but right at left fielder Travis Tully to end the inning.
Houston threatened again in the fifth inning when Hyung Cho and Matt Farrington hit back-to-back doubles with one out setting up what looked like a perfect opportunity to score. Once again, Vasquez kept his composure, striking out second baseman Nick Bott and educing Houston catcher Brett Logan to ground out to end the inning.
UCSB looked to take advantage Sullivan's exit in the seventh inning. Leadoff hitter, Chris Malec ripped relief pitcher Brian Henderson's first offering up the middle to start the inning. The Gauchos suddenly saw runners on second and third with one out after a catcher's interference call and a sacrifice bunt by Matt Stevens. With Malec and Wilkerson in scoring position and the Cougar infield drawn in, senior Josh McCanne chopped a ball to the shortstop forcing Wilkerson out at third. After another Cougar pitching change, Gaucho pinch hitter Nic Rodriguez was called out on strikes to end the inning.
The Cougars put the first run on the board in the bottom of the seventh inning as Farrington singled in pinch runner Greg Buchanan. Justin Segal relieved Vasquez with two outs in the inning and forced the next Houston batter to fly out to third baseman Nate Sutton to end the inning.
The Gauchos answered in the top of the eighth inning. Sutton doubled to left-center and Havens beat out an infielder single, putting runners at the corners. Greg Powers then bounced a ball to shortstop plating Sutton and tying the game, 1-1.
Solid pitching by both teams sent the game into extra innings.
The game entered the twelfth inning tied, 1-1. Pinch hitter Bill Rowe ripped a single up the middle off pitcher Ryan Wagner to lead off the top of the inning. Then, pinch runner Josh Fulton stole second to set the table for UCSB. Gabe Mann swung at the third strike in the dirt but reached first base after Houston's catcher tried to throw out the speedy Fulton at third base. "Fulton taking third on the strikeout was the difference in the game. It gave us an extra out and put the go ahead run in the ideal position," commented Brontsema on the heads up play by Fulton. A Ziemendorf strike out brought Sutton to the plate with an open base. The Cougars decided to intentionally walk Sutton, but pitcher Ryan Wagner balked on his second pitch plating Fulton. The Gauchos would load the bases after back-to-back walks and score two more runs in the inning on a single by Powers. The Cougar mishap and two-run single gave the Gauchos their first lead of the game, 4-1.
UCSB made it interesting in the bottom of the twelfth. Closer Jared Edrosolan issued consecutive walks to Houston batters. Third Baseman Hyung Cho then singled to load the bases. After a Cougar sacrifice fly, UCSB pitching coach Dan Ricabal had seen enough of Edrosolan and called on Michael Martin to finish the game. The true freshman got a quick fly out and then struck out pinch hitter Brian Martin to end the game and pick up his first save of the season.
Junior Ivan Ramirez pitched solid out of the pen holding the Cougars hitless and earning the victory for the Gauchos. The Gauchos improve to 2-3 this season.
"This game came down to pitching and execution," said Brontsema. "We did more of the little things towards the end, giving us an opportunity to win the ball game."
UCSB will send southpaw Sean Thompson to the mound against the Washington Huskies at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday. They conclude the tournament against host Pepperdine at 2:00 p.m. on Sunday.