March 13, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB (7-9) held a 4-0 advantage headed into the top of the sixth inning, but eventually fell to Minnesota (9-3) 6-5 in ten innings after the Golden Gophers tallied six runs in the last five innings of play to complete the comeback.
Freshman Matt Valaika had the loudest hit on the day for the Gauchos, blasting his second homerun of the year to lead off the second inning. Senior Robbie Blauer extended his hitting streak to seventeen games with an RBI single in the bottom of the tenth. Blauer hit the ball hard in a couple at bats on the day, but waited until the final frame to extend his streak.
Senior starter Brian Tracy lasted five strong innings, surrendering no runs on six hits and three walks while striking out two. Sophomore Matt Wade tossed an inning, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk while striking out one on the day. Right-hander Bryan Fleming pitched three innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and striking out two to be tagged with the loss. For Fleming, the loss drops his record to 1-1 on the season. Left-hander Chuck Huggins threw a third of an inning in the game before giving way to senior submariner Justin Segal. Entering with the bases loaded and one out, Segal allowed a hit and a sacrifice fly to plate the two Gopher runs in the tenth.
Matt Nohelty led the Golden Gophers offensively, batting three-for-six with a run scored and two RBI. Dan Lyons, Mike Mee, Nate Hanson and Derek McCallum also contributed two hits for Minnesota on the day. Golden Gopher starter Allen Bechstein lasted three and two-thirds innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on four hits and three walks while striking out one in the no decision. Tom Buske was instrumental out of the bullpen for Minnesota, contributing five and a third innings and allowing only a single hit and striking out three to shut down the Gaucho offense. With the work, Buske earned his first victory of the season in the game. Josh Oslin recorded the first out in the tenth, allowing a run on one hit and two walks. Left-hander Bill Johnson closed the door on the Gauchos, inducing a one-out bases loaded fly out for the second out of the inning and a fly ball to right field to end the game. For Johnson, the save was his second of the year.
UCSB plated four unanswered runs to start the game, scoring one in the first, two in the second and one in the fourth. After a Chris Fox walk and a sacrifice bunt put a runner at second in the first inning, junior Mike Zuanich singled home the first run of the game two batters later. Valaika led off the second inning with his second homerun of the season to plate the first run of the second. Backstop Chris McMurray followed by reaching on an error by the third baseman before moving to second on a Gunnar Terhune sacrifice bunt. Two batters later, Fox singled into right field to plate McMurray and give UCSB the 3-0 advantage. McMurray was back at it again in the fourth, walking and then moving to second base on a balk. On the ensuing play, McMurray stole third to set the table for the Shane Carlson sacrifice fly that followed. At the end of the fourth, UCSB led 4-0.
Minnesota came out hitting in the sixth, plating three runs in the top of the frame. After Wade took over for Tracy, McCallum singled to start the inning. A Jeff DeSmidt single through the left side put runners at first and second with no one out. After a failed bunt attempt resulted in a strikeout, Nohelty singled to plate McCallum. On the ensuing play, Lyons doubled down the right field line to plate the second run of the inning and move the runners to second and third. A Mee groundout to Valaika at second base plated the final run of the inning one batter later.
The Golden Gophers were handed their fourth run of the game in the seventh. After a quick out, McCallum reached on a throwing error by Terhune at third. An out later, Tijl Vanderwege reached on a second error by Terhune, moving runners to the corners with two out. Nohelty made the errors hurt, sending a pitch into left field to plate McCallum.
With the game knotted at four runs apiece after nine, the two teams played extra innings. Minnesota got on the board in a big way in the top of the tenth, plating what turned out to be the two winning runs in the game. Back-to-back singles by Lyons and Mee put runners at first and second to start the inning. A sacrifice bunt moved the runners to second and third before an intentional walk loaded the bases with one out. Segal was called out of the Gaucho bullpen to face Nate Hanson. Hanson quickly greeted the right-hander by flaring a base hit into shallow right field to score the go-ahead run. McCallum's sacrifice fly one batter later proved to be the game-winning run for the Golden Gophers.
UCSB plated one run to make the game interesting in the bottom half of the tenth. Fox led off with a strikeout, but reached first on the wild pitch. After a Lewis walk and another wild pitch moved runners to second and third, Blauer connected for his only hit on the day to plate Fox and cut the deficit to one run. Two batters later, pinch-hitter Cody Dee was intentionally walked to load the bases for Valaika with one out. After Oslin had run the count to 2-0, the Golden Gophers summoned Johnson out of the bullpen and he immediately got Valaika to pop out to shortstop to ease some pressure. Just moments later, McMurray lifted a deep fly ball to right, but the ball stayed in the park and right fielder Kyle Baran put it away for the final out of the game.
UCSB and Minnesota will conclude the two-game series tomorrow at 2 p.m. UCSB is expected to throw left-hander Jeff Braun against left-hander Marcus McKenzie for the Golden Gophers.