Feb. 4, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - A solid start by freshman pitcher Steven Morlock was not enough as the UCSB baseball team dropped a 5-2 decision to third-ranked USC on Tuesday at Ceasar Uyesaka Stadium.
Morlock, making his first start in a Gaucho uniform, put in four innings of work. The right-hander gave up two runs, one of them unearned, off of three hits and four strikeouts. Santa Barbara fell to 2-4 on the young season with the loss.
The first batter of the game, Trojan third baseman Michael Moon, reached on an error by shortstop Josh Fulton. That error set the tone for what would be a sloppy first inning by the Gauchos. After a balk and a wild pitch, another Fulton error with two outs allowed Moon to score.
Matt Wilkerson got the Gauchos on the board in the first inning with a well-placed fly in shallow left-center field. Trojan outfielder Spencer Gordon made a diving attempt, but was unable to make the play. UCSB second baseman Chris Malec, hustling all the way, scored from first on the hit. Wilkerson ended the day with two hits in three at bats and a walk.
The Trojans, after adding single runs in the fourth and sixth innings, put the game out of reach in the eighth. Gaucho relief pitcher Ivan Ramirez quickly got the first two batters out before giving up a base hit. Ramirez seemingly got himself out of the inning by catching the runner stealing, but an errant throw by senior first baseman Josh McCanne kept USC alive. The crushing blow came when the next batter, second baseman Jon Brewster, launched a Ramirez offering over the fence in left-center field for a two-run homer.
UCSB, quiet since the first inning, was able to score a single run in the ninth, but it wasn't enough to prevent their its straight loss. After threatening with runners on second and third and nobody out, three consecutive groundouts ended the game.
Santa Barbara next heads to Malibu, Calif., this weekend for the "Battle at the Beach" tournament hosted by Pepperdine. The Gauchos will face Houston on Friday at 10:00 am, University of Washington on Saturday at 10:00 am, and Pepperdine on Sunday at 2:00 pm. The next home game is against UCLA on Tuesday, February 18 at 2:00 pm.