April 15, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The Gaucho offense erupted as Mike Zuanich hit three home runs to power UC Santa Barbara (24-11, 6-3) over local rival Westmont (8-27), 25-3 on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. UCSB's onslaught recorded season-highs in runs, hits, and home runs in Tuesday's slugfest.
UCSB combined for season-highs with 25 runs, 29 hits, and six home runs, while limiting the Warriors to three runs on the day. UCSB's six long balls added to their already Big West Conference leading home run total, giving them 39 on the year. Every Gaucho to step to the plate, including two rare at-bats by pitchers, collected at least one hit. UCSB scored in every inning except the second and seventh, en route to their 25th victory on the year.
After senior Michael Martin allowed three early runs (two earned) in the first two innings, the Gaucho pitching staff would silence the Warrior bats. Jesse Meaux (1-0) earned the win, pitching four scoreless innings in relief. In addition, Clayton Edwards, Forest Cannon, and Patrick McIntyre all pitched perfect innings in relief.
UCSB countered Westmont's two-run first by scoring three times in the bottom half. Chris Fox started the rally by singling to first base, and later stealing second base, his 15th of the year. Eric Oliver followed with an RBI double down the right field line, to put the Gauchos on the board, 2-1. Zuanich's RBI single to left field in the ensuing at-bat, scored Oliver from second to tie things up, 2-2. With two-out and one on, Shane Carlson put the Gauchos in front, doubling home Zuanich.
After the Warriors scored a run in the top of the second to tie the game at 3-3, UCSB would do all the hitting the rest of the way.
The Gauchos scored twice in the third, three times in the fourth, twice in the fifth, and six times in the sixth, before breaking through for a nine-run eighth.
Zuanich belted a two-run home run in the bottom of the third, his first of the day, to put the Gauchos ahead, 5-3. Coming into the day, Zuanich was second in the Big West Conference in home runs with seven.
The Gaucho's third dinger of the game came in the fifth inning off the bat of third baseman Robby Cummings. Cumming's two-run shot, his second of the season, pushed the Gaucho lead to seven, 10-3.
After Oliver singled with one out in the top of the sixth, Zuanich hit his second majestic tater of the day, driving a ball high over the eucalyptus trees beyond the left center field fence. With two outs, the Gauchos rallied for four more runs, highlighted by a two-RBI double from senior backstop Matt McColgan. At the end of six, UCSB found themselves ahead, 16-3.
UCSB scored a season-high nine runs in the eighth, sending 13 batters to the plate in the process. Following an RBI single off the bat of pinch hitter Patrick Rose, Chris McMurray hit a soaring three-run homer over the right center field wall. Zuanich followed by hitting his third home run of the day, high over the right field wall. The back-to-back blasts marked the first time the Gauchos have accomplished the feat since May 21, 2006 when Chris Valaika and Chris Webber went yard. The historic eighth inning was highlighted by pinch-hit appearances by Gaucho pitchers Anthony Martin, and Chuck Huggins. Martin's two-RBI double to right center and Huggins' infield single, marked the first time a Gaucho pitcher has hit this season. At the end of eight, UCSB owned a 25-3 advantage.
McIntyre retired the Warriors in the top of the ninth to seal the Gaucho victory.
Zuanich had a career day going 4-for-6 with four runs scored, three home runs, and six RBI. Zuanich's eighth, ninth, and tenth home runs of the season, pushed the Torrance, Calif., natives RBI total to 40. The left fielder is now slugging a ridiculous .598 on the season to go along with 16 extra-base hits and 79 total bases.
Brian Gump went 4-for-7 with two runs scored and three RBI. Chris McMurray also tallied four RBI in a 2-for-3 effort. Gunnar Terhune had a stellar day at the plate as well, going 5-for-6 with three runs scored. Oliver went 3-for-4 with three runs scored and one RBI. Carlson, McColgan, and Haddow each added two-hit performances.
The Gauchos look to use their momentum in their next game, Friday, April 18 against USC at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.