May 22, 2009

Ten-Run Fifth Inning Dooms UCSB as No. 1 UC Irvine Wins, 11-7

May 22, 2009

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Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A two-out, 10-run rally in the fifth inning derailed any hopes by the UC Santa Barbara baseball team of knocking off top-ranked UC Irvine on Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Though the Gauchos scored four more runs, the deficit was too large as they fell, 11-7 in the opener of a three-game series.

Starter Mike Ford was brilliant until the fifth, allowing just one run on three hits while striking out four. However, after two quick outs in the fifth inning, everything unraveled.

With two on, Ford appeared to be out of the jam when he got Ben Orloff to check his swing with two strikes, however Orloff was ruled not to have swung and eventually walked, loading the bases. Eric Deragisch was hit by a pitch - one of three he suffered on the day and one of six total hit batters by Gaucho pitchers - to force in a run, and cut the Gauchos' lead to 3-2.

Ronnie Shaeffer's single plated two more, giving the Anteaters (41-12 overall, 21-1 in the Big West) their first lead of the day. Another run-scoring single was followed by Jeff Cusick's three-run homer before consecutive doubles finally chased Ford (4-5), but the damage was done.

It was too bad, too, since the Gauchos roughed up UC Irvine ace Daniel Bibona. The left-hander entered the game with a 2.23 ERA, but allowed six runs on eight hits in 5.1 innings pitched. It tied the most runs Bibona (11-1) had allowed in a start all season.

Facing a No. 1 team for the first time since 2001 didn't seem to bother UCSB (28-22, 10-12) as the Gauchos rallied, scoring three in the sixth inning and cutting the lead to 11-6. Matt Valaika, who hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning to give UCSB a 3-1 lead, started off the inning with a single and eventually scored on Mark Haddow's double. Robby Cummings, who walked, and Haddow scored when Bryce Tafelski laced a ball down the left-field line for a two-run double.

UCSB added another run in the ninth after Gunnar Terhune doubled and Eric Oliver singled him in, but it was not enough.

Greg Davis and Clayton Edwards pitched well in relief, allowing just one run on four hits in the final 4.1 innings.

Terhune, Oliver and Valaika enjoyed multi-hit days while Valaika, whose homer was his sixth, and Tafelski knocked in two RBI each. The Gauchos, as a team, knocked out 11 hits.

UCSB hosts UC Irvine on Saturday and Sunday in a pair of 1 p.m. games. On Saturday the first 100 paid admissions receive a free UCSB beach towel and the first 50 fans into the game will receive free coupons to Cold Stone Creamery. On Sunday it will be Senior Day as the first 100 students will receive free Domino's pizza. To read more about the great events this weekend, click here.

Tickets will be available at the front entrance of Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Getting to UCSB baseball games is easy! From Highway 217, veer right at Steck Circle onto Mesa Road, and take a left onto Stadium Road. Caesar Uyesaka Stadium is on your left, and you can park at Lot 30 which is right outside the stadium. There are two kiosks that accept cash and credit card to pay for parking.