March 16, 2007

UCSB Wins in Late-Inning Seesaw Battle, Downs Loyola Marymount 6-4

March 16, 2007

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - With the aid of solid pitching by senior right-hander Steve Morlock, UCSB (8-10) managed to defeat Loyola Marymount (10-13-1) 6-4 in a seesaw battle on Friday in game one of a three-game series with the Lions at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Morlock threw eight innings, allowing four runs on seven hits and two walks while striking out seven to earn his third win of the year. For Morlock, the eight innings resulted in his second longest outing of the season. In the ninth, the Kentfield, Calif. native handed the ball over to Gaucho closer Justin Segal. Segal nailed down the victory and earned his third save of the season.

Designated hitter Cody Dee led the Gauchos offensively, finishing three-for-five with a run scored and three RBI. Sophomore Chris McMurray also tallied multiple hits in the game, batting two-for-three with a run scored. The only Gaucho extra-base hit came off the bat of shortstop Shane Carlson, who blasted a triple over the head of Angelo Songco in right field. For Carlson, the triple was his first of the season. With a one-for-four day at the plate, senior Robbie Blauer extended his current hitting streak to nineteen games.

Second baseman Eric Farris kept a hot bat for the Lions, batting two-for-four with a homerun, an RBI and a run scored. Centerfielder DeAndre Miller, who is no stranger to Caesar Uyesaka Stadium having played there as a Santa Barbara Forester for the past two seasons, finished two-for-four with an RBI double on the game. LMU starter Brad Meyers lasted seven innings, surrendering four runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out six batters. Meyers handed the ball over to Xavier Esquivel with the score tied at four runs apiece to start the eighth inning, thus earning the no decision in the game. Esquivel contributed the next two-thirds of an inning, giving up two runs on two walks to earn the loss. Nathan Keadle got the final out of the game for the Lions, allowing one hit in the effort.

Neither team managed to plate a run until the Gauchos scored two in the bottom of the fifth to take the 2-0 advantage. Carlson led off with a walk before moving to second base on a Chris Fox sacrifice bunt. A Dee single plated Carlson on the ensuing play before Blauer singled through the right side to put runners at the corners. Junior Mike Zuanich followed with a ground ball to Michael Glomb at shortstop to score the second run of the inning.

LMU answered back with a run in the top of the sixth. With one out, Will Dugoni was hit by a pitch before advancing to second on a Morlock wild pitch. After a fly out for the second out of the inning, Miller came up clutch with an RBI double to plate Dugoni and put the Lions on the board.

The Lions took the lead in the top of the seventh with two runs in the frame. A one out walk to Brian Wilson got the rally started. Marty Mullins followed with a double to left field to put runners at second and third. Pinch hitter Brett Mendoza followed suit with a two-RBI double down the left field line to plate Wilson and Mullins and put LMU on top 3-2.

The Gauchos responded back, plating two runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Carlson led off with a triple before UCSB failed to plate the runner with the next two outs. With two down and the runner still at third, LMU elected to intentionally walk Blauer to face Zuanich. Zuanich worked the count to a long at bat before drawing a walk of his own to load the bases for Lewis. Lewis came up clutch for UCSB, singling home Carlson and Blauer before Zuanich was caught between second and third base for the final out of the inning.

The Lions continued the seesaw battle, plating a single run in the top of the eighth. Farris wasted no time plating the run, sending a pitch over the wall in centerfield for his second homer of the year.

With the score knotted at two headed into the bottom of the eighth, UCSB pushed two runs across to take the eventual game-winning lead at 6-4. Esquivel came on in relief of Meyers to start the inning and quickly induced a ground out by freshman Matt Valaika. McMurray walked before pinch hitter Clayton Shank flew out for the second out of the inning. A wild pitch preceded a Carlson walk to put runners at first and second with two out in the inning. Keadle emerged from the LMU bullpen and immediately plunked Fox to load the bases for Dee. Dee hit a groundball up the middle that was stabbed by Glomb, but the flip to Farris at second was not in time to force out Fox. On the play, Carlson and McMurray scored to plate the fifth and sixth runs for the Gauchos.

Segal came on and retired the Lions in order, including a strikeout of Mendoza to end the game. UCSB and LMU will continue the three-game series tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Junior left-hander Chuck Huggins is slated to make his first start as a Gaucho.

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