Baseball Battles Back To Defeat New Mexico State 11-9, Completing Series Sweep
March 27, 2000
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
Shortstop Jeff Bannon belted a three-run home run with one out in the bottom of the eighth to give the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos an 11-9 victory over New Mexico State in the final game of a three game Big West Conference baseball series at UCSB's Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Monday. The win by UCSB gives the team a sweep of its three-game series against the Aggies.
UCSB was fighting back all day. After taking a 1-0 lead in the first inning, the Gauchos watched the Aggies score the next six runs, one in the second, two in the third and three in the fifth. The final three runs came in the fifth inning on a three-run home run by left fielder Casey Crume.
Trailing 6-1 entering the bottom of the fifth, UCSB responded with a four run inning of its own. Andy Campanella and Jeff Carter opened the innings with walks. Chad Peshke, who set a school record by being hit with pitches three times on the day, hit a fly ball to right. Campanella tagged at second and advanced to third. With one out, Mike Kolbach singled to left field, scoring Campanella and moving Carter to to third. After a pitching change, third baseman Dave Molidor belted a two-run double down the line in left. For Molidor, it was one of four hits he collected on the day. His 4-for-5 afternoon included a pair of doubles and improved his team-leading batting average to .385.
With Molidor on second, Donovan Warrecker fouled out to first base, but when first baseman Bobby Pierce caught the ball with his back to the infield, Molidor tagged and went to third. Tyler Von Schell then singled to left, scoring the fourth and final run of the inning.
The Aggies responded with two runs in their half of the sixth inning. In that inning, starting pitcher Jeremy Sugarman was replaced by Jamie Gonzales. UCSB then bounced back with three runs in their half of the sixth, tying the score at 8-8. The key blow in the sixth for the Gauchos was a sacrifice fly by Peshke that was dropped by Aggie center fielder Kurt Wilkinson, leading to a trio of unearned UCSB runs.
In the top of the eighth inning, NMSU broke the 8-8 tie when shortstop Jason Larsen belted a one-out home run off of Gonzales. The run was the only one allowed by the junior right hander from Las Vegas.
Molidor led off the Gaucho eighth with his fourth hit of the afternoon, a single to left field. He moved to second on a wild pitch by NMSU's David Mercado. After Warrecker lined out to left field, Molidor was wild pitched to third. Von Schell walked to put runners on first and third and bringing up Bannon. After taking a pitch and then fouling two off down the left field line, Bannon walloped his team-leading fourth round tripper of the season, over the left-center field fence and giving UCSB its eventual margin of victory, 11-9.
Gonzales picked up the win (2-0) and left hander Jim Bullard came in to pitch a perfect ninth inning, including a pair of strikeouts, to record his third save.
UCSB is now 14-12 on the season and 4-2 in Big West play. They are tied with Sacramento Stat for third in the league. New Mexico State drops to 15-16 overall and 0-6 in the Big West.
The Gauchos return to action this weekend for a three-game series on Friday, Saturday and Sunday against nationally-ranked Nevada. Friday's game begins at 2:00 p.m, Saturday's at 1:00 p.m. and Sunday's game will start at 11:00 a.m. to accomodate Nevada's flight back to Reno.