April 15, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara defeated the University of the Pacific for the third time in as many days Sunday afternoon, completing the series sweep with a 5-2 win at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Chris Fox, Mario Lewis, and Robbie Blauer all hit home runs for the Gauchos, who have now won four of their last five games.
With the win UCSB improved to 15-18 overall on the season and 4-2 in Big West Conference play, while UOP fell to 9-28-1 and 0-6 in league action.
Senior Jeff Braun got the nod on the mound for the Gauchos and earned his first win of the season, improving to 1-5. The left-hander scattered seven hits over six innings of work and allowed one earned run while walking none and striking out three.
Senior Bryan Flemming relieved Braun in the seventh inning and allowed one run - an RBI single to third baseman Justin Baum - in 1.2 innings of relief. Flemming gave way to junior Kyle Brown in the top of the eighth, and Brown promptly extinguished the Pacific threat, inducing pinch-hitter Jason Harr into an inning-ending groundout. Gaucho closer Justin Segal slammed the door in the ninth to earn his team-leading sixth save of the season.
The UCSB offense was home run-happy Sunday afternoon, hitting three bombs en route to the win. Blauer continued his stellar season hitting his third homer in the bottom of the third. After falling behind 0-2 in the count, the senior turned on an inside fastball and drove the ball deep over the right field wall to give the Gauchos a 1-0 lead. The senior first baseman finished 1-for-2 with two walks.
After allowing a run in the top of the fourth on an RBI double by designated hitter Noah St. Urbain, Santa Barbara then answered with two in the bottom half. With one out second baseman Matt Valaika tripled to the gap in right center and then scored on a sac-fly from shortstop Shane Carlson. Fox followed with his second home run of the year, a solo-shot to right center field to give UCSB a 3-1 lead. The junior center fielder raised his batting average 15 points to .315, going 3-for-4 on the day with two runs and an RBI.
The Gauchos' advantage extended to 5-1 in the bottom of the seventh as Lewis drove a ball out over the right field fence with a runner on first. The senior right fielder continued his power surge, homering for the fourth time in as many games. Lewis went 4-for-11 at the plate in the series with three homers, six RBI, five runs and two walks.
After Tiger second baseman Zach Chamberlin doubled and scored in the top of the eighth, the Gauchos would not look back, with Fleming, Brown and Segal combining to record the final five outs in order.
Segal tallied five strikeouts in three innings of work over the weekend en route to his fifth and sixth saves of the year.
The Gauchos look to stay hot when they take a break from conference play against Westmont on Tuesday, April 17 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for 2:00 p.m.