March 4, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - In a break from Division I play, UC Santa Barbara (8-9) hosted Keio University on Tuesday. The exhibition game didn't count in the standings or for any official statistics, but was still very meaningful for the Gauchos. In the middle of a string of eight games in ten days, Santa Barbara was able to give a break to some starters and give some key bench players crucial AB's.
Mike Sutherland made his first start during the Gauchos 6-3 victory. The lefthander has been very effective out of the bullpen, sporting a team leading 1.17 ERA in six appearances this year. His stuff was nasty out of the gate, keeping the Keio hitters guessing. He retired the first ten batters he faced before giving up a walk to the #2 hitter Hayashi. A single later in the inning by Hayakawa would break up the no-hitter and the shutout.
By this point, the Gauchos had already built a 2-0 lead thanks to RBI singles by Bill Rowe in the 1st and Matt Wilkerson in the 3rd. Wilkerson finished the day 3-for-4 with 2 RBI and a stolen base. Matt Stevens, who scored the first three runs for UCSB, continued a torrid hitting streak. After collecting multiple hits in all three games last weekend against Sacramento State, Stevens once again helped start rallies today for the Gauchos.
Each team was able to score single runs in the 5th and 6th innings. Santa Barbara received RBI singles from Wilkerson and catcher Josh La Grotta. Normally a bench player, La Grotta got the call today to give Chad Ziemendorf a day off.
The mid-season exhibition was a welcomed contest by head coach Bob Brontsema. "It was a good challenge today. We saw some good breaking balls and different arm angles. We played well today," quipped Brontsema after the game.
UCSB next plays Westmont College in Montecito on Wednesday. Game time is at 2:00 pm. Westmont travels to visit the Gauchos at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Wednesday, April 2nd at 2:00 pm. Santa Barbara will also be traveling to play Loyola Marymount over this upcoming weekend. Friday's game starts at 2:00 pm at George Page Stadium. The weekend games start at 1:00 pm.