March 26, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara only needed two-and-a-half hours to hand Cornell its seventh consecutive loss as the Gauchos up-ended the Big Red 11-1 Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The win marks the fourth for UCSB this week against the Big Red, who has now played six games in six days since traveling West to take on the Gauchos and Cal Poly.
With the victory, UCSB improves to 15-10 and moves five games over five-hundred for the first time this season. Cornell falls to 3-9.
Making his first career start, junior Loren Fraser (3-1) made the most of his opportunity on the mound as he tossed a dominating seven innings, allowing just four hits and one unearned run. The big right-hander struck out eight Cornell batters, a career high for the Castro Valley native. Fraser was given the game ball after expected starter Brian Tracy fell victim to back spasms.
At the plate, right-fielder Matt Wilkerson led the charge for the Gauchos with a 2-for-5 performance, including his second home run in as many days and a season-high five RBI. Second baseman Chris Malec went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and two RBI. In the four games against Cornell, Malec is hitting .714 with ten hits, two home runs and ten RBI. In the same span, Wilkerson is batting .538 with two home runs and 12 RBI.
Shortstop Chris Valaika launched his third home run of the year in the Gauchos' two-run second inning. The true freshman finished 2-for-5 with two RBI and improved his season average to .312. Sophomore Bill Rowe also finished with two hits.
Junior right-hander Rich Sorenson pitched a perfect two innings in relief of Fraser to close out UCSB's fourth straight victory.
Luke Staskal (0-2) suffered the defeat for Cornell, tossing 3.2 innings, allowing seven earned runs on six hits. Right-fielder Kaleb Hutchinson finished with two hits for the Big Red and center fielder Jon Finch picked up Cornell's only RBI.
The two teams meet again Saturday at 1 p.m at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium for the conclusion of this week's five game series.