Gauchos Use Late Rally, Extra Innings to Defeat USC

Peter Maris (by Tony Mastres)
Peter Maris (by Tony Mastres)

LOS ANGELES - After scoring three ninth inning runs to send Wednesday's game into extra innings, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team made sure to utilize the bonanza stanzas in defeating USC in a non-conference game, 5-4, in 12 innings.

Peter Maris' two-out single in the 12th inning scored Brett Vertigan as the Gauchos snapped a three-game losing skid and won its fourth midweek game of the season. UCSB improves to 18-17 overall while USC falls to 20-15.

While Maris' heroics sent the Gauchos home happy, it was a wild ninth inning that allowed the freshman from Laguna Niguel, Calif. to provide the winning hit.

With UCSB trailing 4-1 in the ninth, Steven Moon led off the inning with a single and Vertigan followed with an infield single. Lance Roenicke's single brought in Moon to make it a two-run game.

Maris, who came into the game as a pinch hitter in the seventh inning, tried to bunt but lined it back at pitcher Martin Viramontes, who tried to double up Roenicke at first. The throw got away and Vertigan scored with Roenicke moving up to second.

Marc Venning pinch hit for Ryan Palermo and lined an 0-2 pitch into center field to tie the game, 4-4.

Greg Mahle, who took the loss in the Gauchos' 14 inning defeat at Long Beach State on Saturday night, pitched four sparkling innings, allowing just three hits while striking out four to pick up his first collegiate victory.

Kevin Gelinas started the game for UCSB, but was on a strict pitch count as he was starting for the first time since February 24. The left-hander went 2.2 innings and struck out four before giving way to Jared Wilson.

Wilson went 2.1 innings and Matt Vedo added 2.0 more. The Trojans scored their runs off the pair of right-handers, but all four runs were unearned. An error by Moon and two by Brandon Trinkwon allowed USC to take a 4-1 lead as all four runs came in the sixth inning.

Santa Barbara's pitching staff was aided by four double plays from its defense.

The Gauchos had runners in scoring position in both the 10th and 11th innings and less than two outs, but were unable to push the winning score across.

UCSB had 11 hits on the night with six total - three each - coming from Vertigan and Roenicke.

UCSB continues its road swing by playing at Pacific for three games starting Friday at 6 pm and then picking up a game at Saint Mary's on Monday. All four games on the road trip will be broadcast live - click here to listen.