March 29, 2002
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team won their first Big West Conference game of the year, 5-4, over Cal State Northridge Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Sean Thompson (Redondo Beach, Calif.) went the distance for the Gauchos and Blair Havens (Los Alamitos, Calif.) keyed a three run eighth inning, as the Gauchos came back from a 3-2 defecit to improve to 14-16 overall and 1-1 in Big West play.
Phil Polanco (2-1) takes the loss for the Matadors as he gave up the two run double to Havens in the eighth. Cal State Northridge falls to 19-11 overall and 1-1 in Big West play.
Down 3-2 in the eighth, the Gauchos were able to get to the Northridge bullpen as starter Bill Murphy was relieved by Justin Fortugno with one out in the eighth. Murphy held the Gauchos in check, pitching seven and one-thirds inning, yielding two runs on four hits, while striking out seven.
With Murphy gone, the Gaucho offense began to come alive. Pinch-hitter Nic Rodriguez (Los Lunas, N.M.) drew a walk and Fortugno was then relieved by Northridge closer Phil Polanco. The following batter, Nate Sutton (Santa Cruz, Calif.) then proceeded to drill a single to right advancing pinch-runner Josh Fulton (Olympia, Wash.) to second. Catcher Chad Ziemendorf (Los Altos, Calif.) then walked to load the bases.
Then the Gauchos got some much needed luck, as Planco proceeded to throw a wild-pitch to shortstop Dave Licht (Huntington Beach, Calif.), scoring Sutton from third and tying the game up at 3-3.
Nate Sutton was then thrown out at home trying to score on Licht's grounder to third. That made it two outs with runners on second and third and more importantly, bringing Havens up to bat.
The junior left fielder came up and calmly smacked a double down the left field line to score Ziemendorf and Licht, giving the Gauchos a 5-3 lead.
Northridge made the game a nail-biter in the ninth, by scoring a run in the ninth and having a runner on third with two outs. However, Thompson got Dominique Phillips to ground out to firstbaseman Josh McCanne (Mammoth, Calif.) to end the game.
Havens went 2-for-5 on the day to lead the Gauchos offensively. Shaun Larkin also hit his 11th homer of the year for Northridge.
UCSB and CSUN will wrap-up the three game series Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.