May 11, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - It took one swing from Nate Sutton to turn the day around for UC Santa Barbara (23-27, 6-12). With the Gauchos railing by one run entering the bottom of the eighth, Sutton led off with a triple to center field to start the comeback against the Pacific Tigers (26-25, 5-13). Sutton's hitting combined with excellent relief pitching helped UCSB pull out a 4-3 victory on Sunday.
Sutton's triple was followed by a single down the left field line for Nic Rodriguez to tie the game at 3-3. Gabe Mann entered the game as a pinch runner for Rodriguez and was moved over to second base on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Bill Rowe. After Tiger relief pitcher Andy Willick tossed a wild pitch to move Mann to third, Josh McCanne smashed a ball deep to center. The sacrifice fly was all the Gauchos needed as Mann came across and the Gauchos went ahead 4-3.
Steve Morlock came in to pitch the ninth inning, and shut down the Tigers, 1-2-3. He struck out the first batter, induced a weak ground out and got Josh Snook to fly out to right field to end the game. Morlock, a freshman, picked up his ninth save on the year, just one shy of the team record for a single season.
Santa Barbara started the scoring with one run in the bottom of the second inning. With two outs, Matt Wilkerson walked and stole second base. Greg Powers, getting the start at second base, laced a single to center field to bring in Wilkerson.
UOP responded with three runs in the top of the third. With one out, Adam Ringer singled and Snook walked. Chase Headley doubled down the line in right field, scoring Ringer. Gaucho starter Sean Thompson then sent a wild pitch to the backstop, scoring Snook and moving Headley to third. Headley crossed the plate for the Tigers third run on Cory Lake's sacrifice fly.
The Gauchos produced another run in the fifth inning. With one out, Josh Fulton reached on a fielding error by Tiger first baseman Adam Alverson. Fulton immediately stole second base to put himself in scoring position. After Brian Adams struck out, Sutton sent a single up the middle to bring Fulton home and move UCSB within one.
Santa Barbara couldn't produce another run off of Pacific's starter James Stanford. The right-hander lasted 7.0 innings, only allowing two earned runs on five hits. He walked two and struck out four. Stanford was relieved by Willick after surrendering the triple to Sutton.
Ivan Ramirez (4-1) picked up the win for UCSB. Entering the game in the top of the eight with two on and one out, Ramirez struck out both batters he faced. Jared Edrosolan started the inning for Santa Barbara, but after getting the first batter to ground out, he gave up a walk and a single. Ramirez came in to face the pinch-hitting Eric Elliott.
Sean Thompson pitched well after escaping the three-run third. He lasted 7.0 innings, walking one and striking out four. He surrendered only three runs even though he gave up ten hits.
Sutton was the only Gaucho hitter with two hits. Sutton, Rodriguez, McCanne and Powers each collected one RBI. Sutton, Wilkerson and Fulton each had successful stolen base attempts.
Ringer, Headley and Aaron Harper all ended the day with three hits. Headley was 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored and had two doubles. Ringer ended the day 3-for-5 after singling his first three times to the plate.
After walking eight batters on Saturday, the Gaucho pitching staff combined for just two walks on Tuesday.
Rodriguez led all Gaucho hitters in the three-game series, batting 5-for-13 with three runs scored and four RBI. Headley and Harper each collected five hits on the series for Pacific.
UC Santa Barbara closes out its season with a three-game series against Cal Poly next weekend at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Game one is Friday, May 16th at 2:00 pm. Saturday and Sunday's games are both at 2:00 pm.