March 4, 2007

Blauer's Homerun Halts Gaucho Skid, UCSB Downs Kansas State 8-6 in Eleven Innings

March 4, 2007

Box Score

BEAUMONT, Texas - UCSB (4-7) ended a four-game losing streak by defeating Kansas State (9-2) 8-6 in eleven innings on Sunday at the Lamar Classic, thanks in large part to another outstanding performance at the plate by senior Robbie Blauer.

Blauer finished four-for-six with a double, two runs scored, an eventual game-winning homerun (his first of the year) in the top of the eleventh and five RBI. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native has now hit safely in all eleven games this season, and carries a twelve-game hitting streak into this week of play. After being no-hit in yesterday's game, junior Chris Fox was back to his normal ways, batting two-for-four with a double, a hit-by-pitch, a walk and two runs scored. Senior Mario Lewis also tallied two hits on the day, finishing two-for-four with a double, a walk, a run scored and an RBI. Freshman Matt Valaika also contributed a double in the victory on Sunday. After an outstanding first two games of the Lamar Classic, Gaucho backstop Matt Anderson capped the three-day tournament with a homerun in his first at bat of the day. For Anderson, the homer was his first of the season.

Freshman Mike Ford got the start for the Gauchos, lasting four innings and surrendering two runs on three hits and four walks while striking out six. Left-hander Chuck Huggins tossed the next three and a third innings out of the Gaucho bullpen, allowing two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out four. Next out of the bullpen was senior Justin Segal who threw a third of an inning and gave up two runs on two hits before giving way to the game's eventual winning pitcher, senior Bryan Fleming. Fleming threw the final three and a third innings, scattering two hits and striking out two hitters to earn his first win of the season.

UCSB got on the board in the top of the second inning to take an early 1-0 advantage. Anderson led off with a solo shot to provide the only run in the top of the frame. K-State tied the game in the bottom half as Justin Bloxom walked and moved to second on a wild pitch. Eli Rumler followed with a two-out single to right and Bloxom raced home to tie the score.

Kansas State took the 2-1 lead with one run in the bottom of the fourth inning. With one out, back-to-back walks put runners at first and second. Rumler singled on the ensuing play to load the bases before a sacrifice fly brought home the only run in the inning.

UCSB posted four runs in the top of the fifth to recover the lead. Gunnar Terhune walked to start the inning. After a strikeout, Terhune stole second to put himself in scoring position. One the ensuing play, Fox was hit by a pitch to put runners at first and second. Lewis came up clutch with an RBI double into right-centerfield to plate the first run of the frame for UCSB. Blauer followed suit with a two-RBI double down the right field line to give UCSB the 4-2 advantage. Two batters later, Cody Dee singled down the lf line to plate Blauer.

The Gauchos tacked-on another run in the top of the sixth. A one-out single by Shane Carlson got things started in the inning. One out later, Lewis singled to put runners at the corners for Blauer. Blauer once again connected for a clutch hit, singling home Carlson.

Down 6-2 in the bottom of the eighth, K-State rallied as Adam Muenster legged out an infield single with one out and Byron Wiley followed with a walk. Nate Tenbrink, who entered the at-bat with one hit in his last 27 plate appearances, blasted a three-run homer to left center to draw the Cats to within 6-5. Eli Rumler was then hit by a pitch and Derek Bunker followed with a double to right to tie the game at six.

Neither team threatened again until the top of the 11th as Blauer lifted a 2-1 pitch from Trevor Hurley over the wall in right, after a leadoff single and a sacrifice, to give the Gauchos an 8-6 lead. Hurley (0-1) suffered the loss after surrendering two runs on three hits over 3.0 innings. The Wildcats got two hits in the bottom half of the 11th, but a caught stealing and a fly out ended the threat and the game.

UCSB will return home to host No. 13 (Rivals.com) Pepperdine on Tuesday, March 6 at 2 p.m. The Gauchos will then host Big West foe Cal State Northridge in a three-game non-conference series starting on Friday, March 9 at 2 p.m. Saturday's game two will be played at 1 p.m. and Sunday's game three is slated for a one o'clock first pitch.