Feb. 18, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara (4-7) baseball team started off a long eight-game home stand with a win against visiting UCLA (5-6) on Tuesday. Freshman Michael Martin pitched five innings to improve to 1-0 this year. The right-hander surrendered three runs and struck out four in his first collegiate start.
Sophomore right-fielder Matt Wilkerson led the Gauchos' charge by collecting three hits and driving in three runs in four at bats and a hit-by-pitch. The slugger just missed going perfect on the day when a towering fly ball in the sixth inning was caught up against the right field fence, negating a possible two-run homer.
The Gauchos struck quickly off of Bruin starting pitcher Hector Ambriz (0-2). Lead off hitter Blair Havens and Nate Sutton reached on a single and a walk to open the first inning. A wild pitch and a balk brought in Havens, and a triple by Wilkerson plated Sutton. Unfortunately, the rally died quickly as two strikeouts and an infield popup ended the inning, stranding Wilkerson at third.
UCLA fought back in the second inning. Two quick strikeouts looked promising for Martin, but three singles coupled with a hit batsmen drove in two Bruins. Outfielder Adam Simon singled to left bringing in Wes Whisler and Ryan McCarthy. Simon and Whisler both finished the day 2-for-4 with 2 RBI for the Bruins.
Santa Barbara took the lead for good in the fourth inning. With the score tied 3-3, a dropped throw by Bruin first-baseman Whisler allowed leadoff hitter Matt Emerick to reach base. The error lead the way for four unearned runs to score. With two outs, Wilkerson singled to left field bringing in Emerick and pinch-hitter Bryan Adams. Adams had walked to reach base. After DH Taylor Vogt singled, catcher Chad Ziemendorf launched a double off of the wall in left, clearing the bases and giving UCSB a 7-3 lead. Ziemendorf had already drawn a bases-loaded walk in the third inning, giving him 3 RBI on the day.
The Gaucho bullpen took over for Martin in the sixth inning. Mike Sutherland surrendered a homerun to the first batter he faced, pinch hitter Matt Thayer. After that, the Bruins could only muster three more hits and one run to finish the game.
Steve Morlock stood on the mound in the ninth and closed out the Bruins' afternoon 1-2-3 by striking out all three batters he faced. The freshman from Ross, Ca earned his first career save with his performance.
UCSB continues their homestand on Friday when Santa Clara comes to Ceasar Uyesaka Stadium. Game time is at 2:00 pm. Junior right-hander Matt Vasquez will take the mound. Games two and three of that series are at 1:00 on Saturday and Sunday at Ceasar Uyesaka Stadium.