March 10, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
UCSB (4-8-1) erased a three-run first inning deficit, and came back to knot the score at seven before play was halted due to darkness after nine innings against No. 24 Cal Poly (12-6-1) on Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Juniors Brian Lee and Chris Valaika had tremendous offensive days for the Gauchos. Lee homered twice in the contest, the first coming in the fourth inning and the second in the sixth. The Chatsworth, Calif. native finished the day batting two-for-five with three RBI and two runs scored. Valaika batted three-for-four with a double, two walks and a run scored. The only out that the standout shortstop made was a screaming 400 foot line drive that was caught by Mustang centerfielder Grant Desme in the seventh inning. Senior Chris Webber also posted multiple hits in the game. The Newcastle, Calif. native went two-for-four with a run scored and a walk on the day.
Junior Andy Graham had a tough first inning, but settled down nicely to finish with six innings pitched, giving up three runs and five hits while striking out four. The Rolling Hills, Calif. native will receive a no decision for the second straight start. Mustang starter Gary Daley also threw a good game, lasting six innings and giving up four runs while striking out six. He will also earn a no decision when the game is completed on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Cal Poly showed why they are ranked No. 24 in the nation in the first inning on Friday. After leadoff man Brent Walker appropriately walked, Desme sent a Graham fastball over the wall in centerfield to give the Mustangs an early 2-0 advantage. On the next pitch, Jimmy Van Ostrand was hit in the upper body to put a runner on first. After a single moved Van Ostrand to third, Bryan Kepner singled to left field to drive in the third and final run of the inning.
After a quiet second inning, UCSB posted its first run of the game in the third. With one out, Valaika singled to right field to start the ball rolling. After a walk and a wild pitch pushed runners to second and third, junior Matt McColgan grounded out to second base to push Valaika home and cut the deficit to two runs.
UCSB wasted no time making up the difference in the fourth. After a one out single by Dave Harrit, Lee connected on his first of two home runs over the right field wall. Although he had lost the lead, Daley settled down to retire the next two Gaucho hitters.
The Mustangs had lost momentum, but it would return in the top half of the fifth. Cal Poly scored three runs on one hit and an error. After Walker flew out to start the inning, Desme walked and then stole second. A groundout to Valaika at short moved Desme to third, but got the Gauchos the second out of the inning. On the next play, Josh Lansford hit a ground ball to freshman Matt Clark at third base who made an errant throw that allowed Desme to score and pushed Lansford to second. After a hits batsman put runners at first and second, Matt Canepa doubled to right centerfield to clear the bases and score the third and final run of the inning.
Once again, Lee and the Gauchos chipped away at the lead in the sixth. Lee took a fastball and drove it over the wall down the right field line for his second homer of the day. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, that would be all the offense that they could muster in the inning.
For the second time in the game, UCSB posted two runs to even the score in the seventh. After leadoff singles up the middle by Clark and Webber, head coach Bob Brontsema put Shane Carlson in to pinch run for Clark at second. After a successful sacrifice bunt by Mario Lewis, the runners were pushed to second and third with one out. Mustang reliever Casey Fien then got Lee to ground back to the mound, and the runners were left at second and third with two outs. On the ensuing play, Fein skipped a ball in the dirt that got away from Canepa and allowed Carlson to trot home from third and moved Webber to third base. Freshman Brian Gump picked up his fifth RBI of the season and plated the final run of the inning for the Gauchos with a base hit to right field on the next play.
The Gauchos and Mustangs exchanged runs in the eighth inning before leaving the score knotted at seven after nine. Cal Poly got a leadoff single from Canepa in the eighth before a sacrifice bunt moved him to second. Jimmy Gardiner picked up the RBI with a bloop base hit into right centerfield on the ensuing play. UCSB earned its eighth inning run on a costly error by defensive replacement Brent Morel at shortstop. Junior Robbie Blauer reached on the error to leadoff the inning. Chris McMurray pinch ran for Blauer at first and moved to second after a McColgan walk. With runners at first and second, Brontsema decided to pinch run for McColgan with Austin Hogans. After Carlson dropped down a bunt that moved the runners to second and third, McMurray scored on a wild pitch by Mustang reliever Rocky Roquet.
Neither team did any damage in the ninth inning, and the game was called due to darkness. UCSB and Cal Poly will resume this game on Sunday at 1 p.m. before the start of game three of the three-game series. Game two between the two teams, which will be played at Cal Poly's Baggett Stadium, was scheduled for a 1 p.m. start, but has been moved back to 6 p.m. due to anticipated rainfall. Bud Norris (3-1, 4.60 ERA) is expected to be on the hill for Cal Poly, while junior Brian Tracy (1-2, 1.96 ERA) is slated to start for the Gauchos.