May 20, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson belted a record-tying two-run home run to snap a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning, and UC Santa Barbara held on for a 4-3 win over UC Irvine at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium Friday.
Wilkerson's home run was his 12th of the season, and the 41st of his career, tying him with David Willis for first on UCSB's career list. Junior first baseman Bill Rowe followed Wilkerson's home run with a long double to right field. Rowe went to third on a fly ball out by C.J. Cook and scored what proved to be the winning run on a sacrifice fly by Matt Kalafatis.
The Gauchos (23-28, 5-11 in Big West) sent set-up man Loren Fraser out to pitch the eighth inning. Fraser struck out Jaime Martinez to open the eighth, but then the Anteaters (28-23 overall, 7-9 in Big West) rallied.
Designated hitter Erik Johnson walked and went to second on a single by pinch hitter R.J. Brown. With the runners going, third baseman Tim Wojcik hit a ground ball to Gaucho shortstop Travis LeBouf. LeBouf went to second with the throw, but pinch runner David Kennedy beat the throw. Second baseman Alden Carrithers' throw to first base was in time to get Wojcik for the second out, but another pinch hitter, Matt Anderson, lined a single to right field to score Kennedy and Johnson and cut the gap to 4-3.
UCSB replaced Fraser with closer Alex McRobbie, and McRobbie wasted no time, striking out the Anteaters top hitter, second baseman Brett Dalton, looking.
After UCSB got a single and nothing more in its half of the eighth inning, McRobbie opened the ninth with back-to-back strikeouts of center fielder Ollie Linton and left fielder Danny Miramontes. McRobbie then just missed outside on a full count pitch to catcher Mark Wagner and the tying run was on with two outs. Martinez, the UCI first baseman singled on the infield to put runners on first and second with two outs, but the designated hitter Johnson grounded out to shortstop to end the game, giving McRobbie his record 12th save of the season.
Junior Steve Morlock (6-7) went 7.0 innings, allowng just one run and seven hits. After allowing a run in the top of the first, he blanked UCI through his final six innings for the win. Chris Nicoll (6-3) was srong through six innings, allowing just one run, but he gave-up all three UCSB runs in the seventh inning.
UCSB and UC Irvine return to action for the second game of the three-game Big West series on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.