March 25, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team set a new school record for RBI, twice tied the school record for at-bats in an inning, fell one run short of tying the school record for runs in a game and set new season highs for runs, hits, RBI, doubles, home runs, totals bases and walks as the Gauchos routed Cornell 31-3 Thursday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
UCSB tallied a total of 30 RBI, surpassing the mark of 28 set by the 1979 and 1997 squads and also knocked out 27 hits, including six doubles and four round-trippers, highlighted by senior third baseman Nate Sutton's second career grand slam. The Gauchos improve to 14-10 on the season as the road-weary Big Red fall to 3-8 with their fifth consecutive loss since beginning its West Coast swing, including five games against the Gauchos and two against Cal Poly.
Santa Barbara scored in every inning but the first, second and eighth, putting up nine runs in the third, three in the fourth, eleven in the fifth, three more in the sixth and five in the seventh. The fifth-inning 11-spot fell one run short of tying UCSB's most productive inning, a twelve run effort against Arizona in 2000.
Right fielder Matt Wilkerson launched his first home run of the year in the third and was followed by outfielder Brian Adam's second dinger of the year and later by Matt Steven's first. In all the Gauchos homered four times, the most in a game this season.
All 17 Gaucho position players played in the three-hour, eighteen-minute affair with ten hitters knocking out at least two hits. Ten Gauchos also recorded at least two RBI, with 13 tallying at least one. Sutton helped lead the charge with his 2-for-5 performance, including three runs scored, and four RBI. Wilkerson, who went 2-for-4, and Stevens, who entered the game in the fifth and also finished 2-for-4, both collected four RBI as well. First basemen Greg Powers and Jack Pinkerton, second baseman Chris Malec, outfielders Brian Adams, Gabe Mann and C.J. Cook, catchers Taylor Vogt and Josh LaGrotta, and designated hitters David Figoni and Matt Kalafatis all contributed at least one RBI.
Overshadowed in the offensive explosion was right-hander Andy Graham (1-1) who picked up his first collegiate victory with seven strong innings. The freshman allowed three runs on nine hits while striking out four. Alex McRobbie and Aaron Jones combined to pitch a scoreless final two innings for UCSB.
By sending 14 batters to the plate in the third and fifth innings, UCSB tied a school record for at-bats in an inning, nearly eclipsing the mark set against Washington in 1986, Arizona in 2000 and Westmont in 2003.
Malec's three RBI upped his season total to 29, almost exactly half of his season total from his freshman year when he drove in 60 and was awarded Freshman All-American honors. He also maintained his grasp as the team's hits leader, bringing his total to 32. In the three games against Cornell, Malec is batting .700 with seven hits, a double, two home runs and eight RBI. His high-school teammate and fellow 2002 Freshman All-American Matt Wilkerson is right behind with a .500 average against Cornell including today's home run and seven total RBI.
The Gauchos and Big Red return to play tomorrow at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium in game four of this week's five-game series. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.