April 17, 2003
Fullerton, Calif. - A late rally against the number two team in the nation wasn't enough as UC Santa Barbara (18-19, 1-6) lost to Cal State Fullerton (32-8, 6-1) on Thursday night in Fullerton. CSF benefitted from a dominating pitching performance by Wes Littleton (5-1) and superb defensive play to beat the Gauchos. UCSB also contributed to the loss with defensive lapses which the Titans capitalized on.
Sean Thompson (5-4) pitched one of the best games all season long for the Gauchos, but walked away with only a loss to show for it. Thompson lasted until the bottom of the eighth inning, being relieved with two outs in the frame. After striking out the first two batters he faced that inning, he then surrendered a single and a home run before exiting, leaving him one out short of what would have been the first complete game for Santa Barbara this season. The left-hander allowed four earned runs and struck out eight Titan hitters.
Fullerton took advantage of Gaucho mistakes early on to take a third inning lead. Following a one-out error by Josh Fulton, the next three batters reached via base hit, driving in two. An RBI groundout and another single plated two more for the Titans, giving them a 4-0 lead.
The deficit increased in the fourth inning. Danny Dorn reached base with a walk, one of four that Thompson allowed on the day. A single by David Fischer moved Dorn to third. A passed ball then scored Dorn and a throwing error by Fulton brought Fischer home.
The Gauchos could do nothing against Littleton seemingly all night long. McCanne singled to lead off the fifth inning to give UCSB their first base runner of the day. A 90-plus MPH fastball and a wicked slider kept the Santa Barbara hitters off balance to protect the Fullerton lead.
It wasn't until the seventh inning before the Gauchos would muster a rally. Matt Wilkerson and Brian Adams singled to open up the frame. Chad Ziemendorf was hit by the first pitch he saw, loading up the bases. A wild pitch scored Wilkerson to break up the shutout. Taylor Vogt came up to the plate to pinch-hit, but grounded out on an excellent defensive play by shortstop Justin Smyres. The groundout did score Adams though. Another wild pitch scored Ziemendorf, making the score 6-3 Titans.
It was all UCSB could score, and it was all CSF needed. Chad Cordero came in to close out the game and earn his fourth save on the season.
Justin Turner finished his day 2-for-3 with one run scored and one RBI for the Titans. Smyres accentuated his stellar defensive work with a 2-for-4 day with two runs and two RBI.
Littleton allowed only four hits and struck out seven Gauchos without walking any. All three runs surrendered in the seventh were earned.
UCSB resumes play on Friday night against Fullerton at 7:00 pm at Goodwin Field. Eric Posthumus (2-2) returns to the mound to get the start for the Gauchos. The series concludes at 1:00 pm on Saturday.