March 28, 2003

Chris Malec Returns As Baseball Edges Cal State Northridge, 5-4

March 28, 2003

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Starting pitcher Sean Thompson pitched 7.1 solid innings, and relievers combined for 1.2 shutout innings to give UC Santa Barbara a 5-4 non-conference win over visiting Cal State Northridge on Friday.

Thompson carried a shutout into the eighth inning, but departed the game with one out, a run in and the bases loaded. Reliever Michael Martin entered the contest, but struggled, allowing a walk, a single and a hit batsmen. Martin left the game with UCSB leading 5-4, but with a 2--and-0 count on the batter, the bases still loaded and just one out.

Enter reliever Ivan Ramirez, who struck out pinch hitter Mel Robinson and got designated hitter Francisco Enriquez to ground out to end the eighth inning with the Gauchos still leading, 5-4. Santa Barbara's third reliever, closer Steve Morlock, hurled a one-two-three ninth inning, striking out one, to earn his team-leading fifth save of the year and to secure Thompson's fourth win.

"Ivan came up just huge for us," said head coach Bob Brontsema. "The ice was getting thin. He came in with a 2-0 count and got the big strikeout. He showed what we see in him."

UCSB scored its first run in the fifth inning. First baseman Bill Rowe singled to left. One out later, center fielder Brian Adams dropped a single into center field to move Rowe to second base. Shortstop Josh Fulton blooped a single just inside the left field line to score the run.

The Gauchos tallied three runs in the sixth inning. Designated hitter Taylor Vogt lined a one-out single to right and then second baseman Chris Malec, returning after missing 17 games with a dislocated kneecap, singled to right center, advancing Vogt to second. Rowe then flied out to center, advancing Vogt to second.

Northridge then pulled starting pitcher Nathan Hochgesang and relieved him with Edward Camacho. Camacho promptly walked catcher Chad Ziemendorf to load the bases. Camacho then unleashed a wild pitch to score Vogt with UCSB's second run, advanding the other runners to second and third. Adams then laced another single to left, scoring two and giving the Gauchos a 4-0 lead.

Santa Barbara added its final run in the seventh when third baseman Nate Sutton walked , stole second and scored on a pinch hit single by Nic Rodriguez.

"Nic has been seeing the ball really well in his opportunities," commented Brontsema. "That turned out to be a really big hit.

The win improves Thompson's record to 4-3. Malec and Adams each went 2-for-4 to lead the Gaucho attack.

UCSB is now 14-13 on the year, Cal State Northridge drops to 6-25. The Gauchos and Matadors will play two more games in the three-game non-conference series. The final two games of the series, on Saturday and Sunday, will begin at 1:00 p.m.