Gauchos Earn First Conference Victory, Down UC Riverside 8-6

April 7, 2006

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB (14-13, 1-0) tallied eight runs on fifteen hits, including multiple hits by five Gaucho players, to down UC Riverside (16-12, 0-1) 8-6 in game one of a three-game conference series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Friday.

Junior first baseman Robbie Blauer led all Gauchos with three hits on the day. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native batted three-for-five with a double, two runs scored and an RBI. Four Gauchos tallied two hits in the game on Friday. Sophomore Alden Carrithers continued his onslaught of opposing pitchers, batting two-for-three with two walks, a run scored and an RBI. With the two hits, Carrithers raised his team-leading batting average to .404. Senior Matt Emerick, who has been on a tear as of late, was back at it again on Friday. The local product went two-for-four at the plate, with a double and a run scored. Junior Mario Lewis also collected two hits, finishing two-for-four with a run scored on the afternoon. Freshman Matt Clark rounded out the multiple hit performers with his two-for-four day at the plate. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native connected for his first collegiate home run in the six-run fifth inning for the Gauchos. Clark finished with three RBI and a run scored on the afternoon.

Gaucho starter Andy Graham tossed eight innings en route to his third victory on the season. The Rolling Hills, Calif. native surrendered four earned runs on six hits and four walks while striking out five. Junior Justin Segal came on for the Gauchos in the ninth to earn his second save of the 2006 campaign.

UC Riverside came out of the gates strong, posting two runs on two hits in the first inning. After a leadoff walk and a stolen base put a runner at second, Brett Bigler tallied the first of his two triples on the day to score the first Highlander run. Two batters later, Aaron Grant singled to left field to drive in Bigler and give UCR the early 2-0 advantage.

UCSB would answer back for one run of its own in the bottom of the inning. After Carrithers led off with a walk, he was moved to second on a Brian Gump single to left centerfield. Two batters later, Blauer drove in Carrithers with the first of his three hits on the day.

UCR once again posted two runs in the second. This time it was a single that jumpstarted the Highlander offense. Following the single and a walk that put runners at first and second, a sacrifice by Drew Garcia moved both runners into scoring position. Leadoff man DJ Hollingsworth plated the first run via a sacrifice fly to deep left field. On the ensuing play, Clark made the only Gaucho error on the day, which allowed Aaron Wible to score from second base.

UCSB cut the lead to 4-2 in the bottom half of the fourth. Blauer got the ball rolling for the Gauchos with a leadoff double down the right field line. Emerick followed with a single to right field to put runners on the corners. Two batters later, Clark connected for an infield single to plate Blauer from third.

The Gauchos turned up the offense in the fifth by scoring six runs on seven hits, with the big blow coming off the bat of Clark and his two-run homer. After two quick outs to start the inning, UCSB created a two-out rally. Once again it was Blauer who started the hit parade, this time singling back up the middle. After an Emerick double moved runners to second and third, freshman Chris McMurray singled home both runs. On the ensuing play, Clark parked a fastball over the wall in right field to push the run total to four in the inning. Lewis followed with a single to left field before Brian Lee tripled into the right centerfield gap to plate the fifth run of the inning for the Gauchos. The hot-hitting Carrithers picked up his thirteenth RBI on the next play, driving a pitch the other way for a single that scored Lee and gave UCSB the 8-4 lead.

The Highlanders cut the lead to three runs in the seventh. Bigler led off the inning with his second triple of the game. After a hit batsman, Jeff Dunbar picked up the RBI with a groundout.

UCSB held an 8-5 advantage headed into the ninth, but UC Riverside was not willing to give up so easily. Senior Andrew Schoneberger came in to relieve Graham to start the inning. Schoneberger hit Hollingsworth with the first pitch of the inning to put the leadoff man aboard. After a double by Bigler put runners at second and third, UCSB brought in Segal to try to close the door on the Highlander threat. Segal got Brian Steinmeyer to fly out to centerfield, but Hollingsworth scored on the play. After another hit batsman put runners at first and second, Segal induced a game-ending double play off the bat of Grant to seal the 8-6 UCSB victory.

The two teams will meet again tomorrow at 2 p.m. in game two of this three-game series. Junior Brian Tracy is expected to be on the mound for the Gauchos. Senior Haley Winter will get the nod for the Highlanders.