March 6, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - It was a milestone game for senior Justin Segal as he passed Dan Yokubaitis and moved into first place on the Gaucho all-time career records list with his eighty-second appearance for the Gauchos, but UCSB (4-8) fell to No. 10 Pepperdine (14-4) 13-12 on Tuesday in a very offensive game at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Segal, a native of Calabasas, Calif., entered Tuesday's game in the eighth and pitched the final two innings on the hill for the Gauchos in the loss. The submariner had no trouble in the eighth, but surrendered one run on two hits in the ninth while striking out one batter.
UCSB was led by a foursome of Gauchos at the plate on Tuesday. Seniors Robbie Blauer and Mario Lewis and juniors Chris Fox and Mike Zuanich all contributed two hits in the game. Blauer batted two-for-three with a homerun, two walks, an RBI and two runs scored. For Blauer, the homer was his second overall and second in as many games. In addition, Blauer extended his hit streak to thirteen games with the performance on Tuesday. Lewis finished two-for-five with two runs scored in the loss. Fox contributed a two-for-four day out of the leadoff spot, tallying a walk, a hit-by-pitch, a stolen base, two runs scored and two RBI. Zuanich, a native of Torrance, Calif., batted two-for-four with a walk, a run scored and three RBI. Freshman Steve Domecus made things interesting in the bottom of the ninth, blasting his second homer of the year to put the Gauchos within one run of Pepperdine.
Senior Brian Tracy got the start for the Gauchos, tossing four innings and surrendering four runs on six hits while striking out two batters. Junior left-hander Kyle Brown got the ball next for UCSB, allowing three runs on three hits without recording an out to earn his first loss of the season. Senior Justin Aspegren also failed to collect an out in the inning, allowing three runs on one hit and three walks before handing the ball over to sophomore Matt Wade. Wade did an excellent job of keeping the Pepperdine bats quiet, pitching two scoreless innings while allowing a single walk and hit in his innings. UCSB's regular Saturday starter, Jeff Braun, hurled the seventh for the Gauchos, allowing two runs on two hits in the inning before giving way to Segal.
Junior Adrian Ortiz and shortstop Danny Worth led the Waves offensively, batting four-for-six and three-for-five, respectively. Ortiz, Pepperdine's leadoff hitter, collected a stolen base, a run scored and an RBI in the victory. Worth tallied a double, a triple, a sacrifice fly, two runs scored and four RBI on the day. Designated hitter Eric Thames also managed to leg out a triple in the game. For Thames, it was his third on the season.
Wave starter Robert Della Grotta lasted three innings, surrendering four runs on three hits and four walks while striking out one. Adam Olbrychowski, the games eventual winning pitcher, tossed two innings and allowed three runs on four hits and one walk while punching out four Gauchos to earn his fourth win of the season. Sophomore Doug Konoske contributed an inning out of the Wave bullpen, surrendering two runs on two hits and one walk. Daniel Farris was next out of the Pepperdine bullpen, throwing an inning and a third and giving up two runs on two hits while striking out two. Junior Jason Dominguez threw the final inning and two-thirds, allowing a run on two hits while striking out two batters to earn his sixth save of the year.
UCSB jumped out to an early 2-0 advantage with two runs in the bottom of the first. Fox led off with a walk before moving to second on a Lewis single. After a Blauer walk loaded the bases, Zuanich singled home Fox and put UCSB up by one. On the ensuing play, senior Matt Anderson grounded into a double play that scored the second run of the inning.
Pepperdine refused to trail for long, posting four runs in the top of the second. After a strikeout to start the inning, Chase d'Arnaud singled through the right side. On the ensuing play, Luke Salas singled to Shane Carlson at shortstop to put runners at first and second. Ryan Heroy followed suit with a single to Carlson to load the bases on the ensuing play. Second baseman Denny Duron then grounded out to Gunnar Terhune at third base that allowed the first Pepperdine run to score. Backstop Travis Tartamella then came up clutch with a two-out two-RBI single to right field to give the Waves the 3-2 advantage. After an Ortiz single put runners at first and second, Worth picked-up one of his four RBI with a single through the left side to plate Tartamella.
UCSB would strike next, plating three runs on one hit in the fourth. Leadoff walks by Anderson and Cody Dee put an end to Della Grotta's day on the hill for Pepperdine. Olbrychowski entered and immediately walked Valaika to load the bases with no one out. In a jam, the right-hander managed to enforce some damage control, striking out the next two batters to bring up Fox. Fox would not let the opportunity pass, blooping a two-RBI single into right field to plate Dee and Anderson and move Valaika to third. With runners at the corners, UCSB literally stole a run when Fox swiped second and Valaika took the plate to give the Gauchos the 5-4 lead.
Pepperdine proved relentless in the fifth, scoring six runs in the inning. Brown took over for the Gauchos in the inning and surrendered a leadoff double down the right field line of the bat of Worth. On the ensuing play, Thames tripled to plate Worth. A single by Donald Brown pushed Thames home on the next play. Now facing Aspegren, a walk and a single loaded the bases for Pepperdine. Two bases-loaded walks resulted in two more Wave runs in the inning. At this point, head coach Bob Brontsema called upon Wade to get out of trouble. The right-hander managed to stop the bleeding a bit, getting out of the inning while only surrendering a single by Ortiz and a sacrifice fly by Worth for the final two runs of the frame.
The Waves and Gauchos exchanged two runs in the seventh inning. Pepperdine got things started with a one-out single by Ortiz off of Braun. On the ensuing play, Worth tripled into right centerfield to plate Ortiz before scoring on a Thames sacrifice fly one batter later.
Blauer led off the home half of the seventh with his second homer of the year. After a Zuanich walk and an Anderson single put runners at first and second, Farris was called out of the Pepperdine bullpen. A groundout by Dee moved the runners up ninety feet before Valaika lifted a deep fly ball into right field that scored Zuanich for the second run of the inning.
The Gauchos posted two more runs in the bottom of the eighth to cut the Wave lead to 12-11. With one out, Fox singled to start the rally. After a Lewis single put runners at first and second, Blauer walked to load the bases. Once again, Pepperdine went to the bullpen, this time summoning Dominguez to get the job done. Dominguez was quickly greeted by a two-RBI single by Zuanich, but did manage to retire the next two Gaucho hitters to maintain the Wave lead.
Pepperdine plated what turned out to be the game-winning run in the top of the ninth. Duron singled to start the inning before stealing second with one out two batters later. Another Ortiz single moved runners to the corners with one out and brought Worth to the plate. The right-handed hitter grounded what looked to be a double play ball to shortstop Carlson, but the turn by Valaika was in the dirt to Blauer at first and the Gauchos were unable to complete the double play. On the play, Duron trotted home with the eventual game-winner.
UCSB put up a fight in the bottom of the ninth, with the big blow being Domecus' two-out homer. In the previous at bats in the inning, Valaika and pinch-hitter Brian Gump both lined out hard right to Wave fielders. Dominguez closed the door on the Gaucho comeback with a strikeout of Fox to end the game.
UCSB will return to action this weekend when it hosts Big West Conference foe Cal State Northridge in non-conference play on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday's game one is slated for a 2 p.m. start and Saturday and Sunday are scheduled to be played at 1 p.m.