Feb. 28, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For the second straight day, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team trailed big early, but this time the Gauchos' rally proved successful and then some as they went on to blowout Fresno State 22-9. UCSB knocked out a season-high 24 hits including home runs off the bats of shortstop Chris Valaika, designated hitter Greg Powers and first baseman Bill Rowe.
In the offensive explosion the Gauchos tied a season-high in runs (22) and at-bats (48), while setting new marks for hits (24), RBI (22), doubles (5), home runs (3) and total bases (38). As a team, UCSB raised its batting average 24 points from .277 to .311.
With 3.1 effective innings in relief, junior Loren Fraser (2-0) picked up his second victory of the year. The dominating right-hander allowed just one run on four hits while striking out three. Right-hander Nate Holguin pitched the first 2.2 innings before giving way to Fraser. Holguin, in his first career start, was shaky allowing six runs (five earned) on five hits and three walks. Southpaw Ivan Ramirez and right-hander Alex McRobbie combined to hold the Bulldogs to two runs in the games' final three innings.
However, the story of the day was Valaika, who broke out with the second multi-hit game of his career and first ever multi-RBI game. His fourth inning, opposite field home run was also the first of his career. The freshman finished a perfect 5-for-5 at the plate with a team season-high five runs scored and three RBI. Valaika becomes the first Gaucho in 2004 to collect five hits in a game and joins second baseman Chris Malec as the only two UCSB players with two doubles in a game.
Malec also put forth an impressive 3-for-6 day at the plate. The junior tallied a season-high five RBI and also scored a run. In the two games against Fresno State this weekend, Malec is hitting .400 (4-for-10) with seven RBI. In that same span Valaika is 6-for-8 with six runs scored and three RBI.
Powers, who belted his second home run of the year in UCSB's three-run sixth inning, finished 3-for-4 and also knocked in another five RBI. Meanwhile, Rowe, who started the game in left field and moved to first base in the fifth, went 2-for-6 with two runs and three RBI. His eighth inning two-run home run was his second of the year.
Junior Matt Stevens was 1-for-2 with two runs and two RBI and right-fielder Matt Wilkerson went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI. Senior third baseman Nate Sutton finished 2-for-5 with four runs scored, two RBI and his team-leading eighth stolen base of the year.
Twelve different Gauchos collected hits in the three-and-a-half hour affair with eight players picking up RBI.
The day started as a mirror image of Friday's matchup between the same two teams as Fresno State jumped out to an early 7-1 lead after three innings. But UCSB went on to outscore the Bulldogs 21-2 from the fourth inning on. The Gauchos posted a single run in the second before putting up a five spot in the fourth, three more in the fifth and sixth, six in the seventh and four in the eighth.
Fresno State used eight different pitchers in the game. Reliever Rudy Quinonez(1-3) took the loss after allowing three runs on three hits in 0.2 innings pitched.
With the victory the Gauchos improve to 7-5 as the Bulldogs fall to 6-8.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow in the rubber-match of the three-game series at 1 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.