April 22, 2000
Santa Barbara, Calif. -
On Saturday, sophomore pitcher Phil Galer was forced into a starting assignment due to the injuries and ineffectiveness of other UC Santa Barbara pitchers. After his performance against 16th-ranked Long Beach State, Galer could easily become a regular part of the Gaucho rotation.
Galer pitched 5.0 scoreless innings, allowing only four hits while striking out three and walking none, as UCSB completed its first three-game sweep of the 49ers since 1986, with a 2-0 shutout victory.
Galer had plenty of help. He was relieved by Peter Dyball in the sixth inning and Dyball, who recorded a key strikeout in UCSB's game two win on Friday, went 1.1 innings and allowed only one hit while walking none and striking out one. He allowed only one hit and was relieved in the seventh by senior Joe Isaacson. For the second day in a row, Isaacson was an effective stopper, hurling 2.2 innings and allowing only one hit while not walking a batter, giving up one hit and striking out a pair.
In their three game sweep of Long Beach State, the Gaucho pitching staff allowed only six earned runs in 27 innings and 13 runs overall. On Saturday, Galer claimed his first win as a Gaucho and Isaacson, who posted three scoreless innings in relief on Friday, garnered his first save of the season.
The Gauchos and 49ers were scoreless entering the bottom of the fifth inning. Center fielder R.J. Smith led things off. In each of the first two games Smith, a sophomore, had saved UCSB defensively with acrobatic catches. In fact, with one out in the ninth inning on Friday and the Gauchos leading 8-7, Smith made a phenomenal leaping grab to rob third baseman Abel Orozco of an extra base hit. In Saturday's win, Smith did his damage with the bat, leading off the fifth with a home run to left field, his second roundtripper of the year, giving the Gauchos a 1-0 lead.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth. With one out, first baseman Mike Kolbach lined a single to left field. When second baseman Chad Peshke took a called third strike for the second out, Kolbach stole second, his third steal in six attempts on the season. With two outs, third baseman Dave Molidor drilled a single to left center, scoring Kolbach with an insurance run and giving UCSB a 2-0 lead.
With the Gauchos leading 2-0 entering the ninth, Long Beach barely mounted a threat. Orozco, who had shifted from third base to first base defensively, opened the inning by grounding out to Molidor. Left fielder Jeff Jones then struck out swinging against the lefty Isaacson. With two outs, designated hitter Joe Graham, who had three of the 49ers' six hits, slugged a double to right center field. He was stranded, however, when pinch hitter Ryan Clark grounded out to end the game.
The game was a true pitching dual. Offensively, Santa Barbara collected seven hits. Molidor led the way by going 2-for-4 with an RBI. Kolbach, shortstop Jeff Bannon, designated hitter Tyler Von Schell, Smith and catcher Donovan Warrecker each collected one hit apiece. Graham was the only 49er player to collect more than one hit.
On the mound, Long Beach State depended on starter Jason Berni and reliever Josh Alliston. Berni went 6.2 innings and allowed only five hits and one run, walking a pair and striking out six. Alliston went 1.1 innings, allowing two hits and UCSB's eighth inning run.
With the victory, the Gauchos are now 21-18 overall and 11-7 in Big West play. Long Beach State drops to 25-16 overall and 13-8 in league play. UCSB is tied with Nevada for third place in the Big West. The 49ers are in second, a game-and-a-half behind Cal State Fullerton. It was UCSB's first sweep of Long Beach since 1986.
Santa Barbara returns to the diamond on Tuesday, April 25 when they host nationally-ranked USC. The game between the Gauchos and Trojans was originally slated to be played in Los Angeles, but weather conditions forced the teams to flip-flop home and road games this season. The UCSB-USC game will begin at 2:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.