May 17, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara (24-28, 7-13) bounced back from Friday's tough loss to defeat Cal Poly (27-24-1, 9-11) by a score of 4-3 on Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Nate Sutton drove a ball deep in the right-field gap to score Chad Ziemendorf and sent the Gauchos home with the victory.
Even though the schedule said that the two teams only played two games, it seemed much more like three. After Friday's 14-inning affair, Cal Poly and UCSB have played a total of 26 innings in the first two days of the series. The games have lasted a combined nine hours and 16 minutes. Other than Friday's game, the Gauchos have played only one game longer this season, an 11th inning loss to UC Irvine on April 5th.
Cal Poly jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning on Saturday. Sam Herbert led off with a single up the middle. After a wild pitch and a fly out, Herbert came in to score on an infield hit by Adam Leavitt.
Santa Barbara rebounded to score twice in the bottom of the fourth to claim the lead. With two outs, Chris Malec and Matt Stevens singled. Malec drove home Josh McCanne, who had reached on a fielder's choice, to tie the game. Stevens drove home Matt Wilkerson with his base hit to send UCSB ahead, 2-0.
Cal Poly once again took the lead with two runs in the sixth inning. After getting the first two outs, starting pitcher Rich Sorenson walked the next two batters. A passed ball moved the runners up a base with Kyle Wilson at the plate. Wilson sent a ball into the hole, just past Sutton at third and deep enough to challenge Josh Futon's arm at shortstop. Fulton's attempt to nab Wilson wasn't going to be in time, and to make matters worse, skipped past McCanne at first, allowing a second run to score. The throwing error gave the Mustangs a 4-3 lead.
UCSB wasn't able to fight back against starting pitcher Garrett Olson until the ninth inning. Nic Rodriguez reached first when a routine throw by third baseman Josh Mayo was errant. McCanne followed up with a single to right field, giving the Gauchos the winning run on first base and nobody out. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, the Mustangs chose to intentionally walk Wilkerson to create a force. Malec continued a hot streak by sending a line drive to center field to move everyone up one base and tie the game up at four.
With the bases loaded, nobody out and the winning run 90 feet away, the Gauchos were unable to produce. Bill Rowe, entering as a pinch hitter, popped out with a foul ball along the fence near third base. Ziemendorf then sent a one-hopper to the shortstop for the rally-killing 6-4-3 double play, sending the game into extra innings for the second day in a row.
After two scoreless frames of extra baseball, Santa Barbara did what it couldn't do on Friday: drive in a base runner. Ziemendorf walked to start the inning and was moved to second with a one-out single by Blair Havens. With the outfield drawn in, Sutton crushed a ball into the gap in right to send the Gauchos home happy with the 4-3 victory.
Alex McRobbie (1-0) picked up his first collegiate victory with 4.1 innings of shutout pitching. He surrendered only two hits and didn't walk a batter after entering the game in the eighth inning.
Tony Saipe (1-2) was the losing pitcher. He helped his team escape the ninth inning jam, but made the mistake pitch to Sutton. Saipe lasted 3.1 innings, striking out five batters.
Havens, Rodriguez, McCanne and Malec all collected two hits for Santa Barbara. Malec led the way with two RBI. Sutton had been 0-12 in the series before his extra inning heroics.
Olson saw a dominating performance washed away on Saturday. He lasted eight-plus innings, allowing only two earned runs and six hits while striking out 11 Gauchos.
UC Santa Barbara closes out the 2003 season on Sunday against Cal Poly. The game is scheduled at 1:00 pm at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Sean Thompson (5-6, 5.12 ERA) will take the mound. Thompson, a senior, is part of a group of Gaucho players playing in their final game on Senior Day. McCanne, Rodriguez, Havens and Fulton join Thompson as seniors.