Feb. 27, 2009
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. - UC Santa Barbara's baseball team lost the first game of its three-game weekend tournament in Minnesota, 13-3, to the host Golden Gophers.
Starting pitcher Mario Hollands (1-1), fresh off eight shutout innings against Cal State Bakersfield on Sunday, allowed six earned runs on nine hits in six innings as Minnesota led 6-0 after the first three innings. Hollands, a sophomore left-hander, struck out eight batters.
UCSB, which plays Hawai'i today, falls to 3-2. Minnesota improves to 3-2.
Minnesota clubbed four home runs on the night, which was the most since it had the same amount against South Dakota State on Apr. 18, 2007.
Minnesota freshman AJ Pettersen led the Golden Gophers as he went 4-for-5 with two RBI, two doubles, two stolen bases, and two runs. Sophomore Michael Kvasnicka was 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs, three RBI and a double, while junior Eric Decker was 3-for-5 with a home run, two runs and an RBI.
Minnesota got on the board early thanks to Kvasnicka's RBI single that knocked in Pettersen in the first inning to put the Golden Gophers ahead 1-0. Pettersen reached base on a ground-rule double and advanced to third on a steal, setting up the two-out hit by Kvasnicka.
In the second inning, Minnesota continued to push UC Santa Barbara pitcher Mario Hollands deep into the count. Playing small ball, the Golden Gophers found the scoreboard again when Kyle Geason scored on the front end of a double steal to put them up 2-0. Senior Matt Nohelty moved to second on the back end of the double steal, and Pettersen drove him home with an RBI single to make it 3-0
Continuing their offensive efficiency in the third, Kvasnica gave Minnesota another run on his second homer of the season. Three batters later, Jon Hummel placed another ball in the home run porch on a two-run shot that scored Decker and gave the Gophers a 6-0 lead.
The Gauchos got on the board in the top of the sixth with a home run to dead center field by Mark Haddow to make the score 6-1. Other than the home run by Haddow, Santa Barbara's offense was stifled by senior starting pitcher Chauncy Handran's solid performance.
Handran went six innings, gave up two hits, two runs, walked three and struck out two batters to move to 1-1 on the season. Handran's six innings tied a career-high.
In the seventh, UC Santa Barbara threatened a comeback by loading the bases with one out. Robby Cummings plated Oliver to make it 6-2 when he reached on an error on a ground ball to the right side of the infield. Bryce Tafelski drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the Minnesota lead to 6-3.
With the Gauchos threatening, Minnesota brought in sophomore pitcher Cullen Sexton, who struck out Haddow and got Brian Gump to fly out to end the inning to keep Minnesota ahead by three runs.
Following the Dairy Queen Classic this weekend, the Gauchos return home to host Loyola Marymount in a four-game series. Season tickets are available by clicking here. With every ticket purchased, fans receive a free hat.