Baseball Opens Conference Play Defeating UC Irvine, 7-4
April 4, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UCSB extended their winning streak to five games, opening Big West Conference play with a victory over UC Irvine on Friday, 7-4. The Gauchos scored five runs in the first three innings, highlighted by a RBI doubles by Matt Stevens and Nic Rodriguez, and an RBI triple by Matt Wilkerson. Starting pitcher Sean Thompson (5-3) earned the victory, his fourth in as many starts, Steve Morlock pitched a scoreless ninth, earning his team leading seventh save of the season.
Leadoff hitter John Horwitz was hit by a pitch and later scored on an RBI single by Mark Wagner to give the Anteaters an early 1-0 lead in the first inning.
The Gauchos erased Irvine's lead in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs on three extra base hits. Stevens doubled, then scored on a single to right field by third baseman Nate Sutton. UCSB added two more runs in the inning on an RBI double by designated hitter Rodriguez and an RBI triple by outfielder Wilkerson, increasing the Gaucho lead, 3-1.
Irvine regained the lead on five hits in the top of the third inning, including a sacrifice fly by Wagner and back-to-back RBI singles by Jordan Szabo and Matt Fisher.
Wilkerson and Chris Malec both singled, and Brian Adams walked loading the bases for shortstop Josh Fulton in the bottom of the third inning. Fulton then delivered a two-run double down the right field line, plating Wilkerson and Chad Ziemendorf and advancing Adams to third. After an Anteater pitching change, Michael Koehler enduced a ground ball by Matt Stevens to end the inning, but not before the Gauchos retook the lead, 5-4.
McCanne stroked an RBI double, scoring Sutton from first base in the bottom of the sixth inning. The Gauchos collected another run in the seventh on a solo home run by Wilkerson, increasing their lead over the Anteaters, 7-4.
Matt Wilkerson led all hitters, going 3-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBI. Sutton also collected three hits for UCSB and tallied two runs scored.
UCSB returns to action against UC Irvine on Saturday at 1:00 p.m., the series concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.