BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - On the opening day of a four-game, season-ending tournament, a pair of UC Santa Barbara baseball players helped re-write the history books.
Brett Vertigan hit his ninth triple of the year in Friday's nightcap, setting the single-season school record and Andrew Vasquez became the first freshman pitcher since Cy Young winner Barry Zito in 1997 to strike out over 100 batters in a season.
The Gauchos split their doubleheader with a 3-2 win over Utah and an 18-8 loss to CSU Bakersfield. UCSB is now 26-28 on the season and has two games left on the 2012 year.
Vertigan's triple in the loss to the Roadrunners came in the eighth inning as he passed All-Americans Wynter Phoenix (1994), Scott Cerny (1986) and Bill Geivett (1985) for the UCSB record. The junior from Garden Grove, Calif. had three hits in the doubleheader and raised his average to .382 and is aiming to become the first Gaucho since Geivett in 1985 to lead the Big West in batting.
Vasquez struck out nine Utah batters in 6.1 innings pitched, giving him 104 on the season. The freshman allowed just one unearned run on two hits in Friday's opener and lowered his ERA to a Big West leading 1.93.
When Matt Vedo relieved Vasquez and struck out four batters in 2.1 innings pitched, the duo tied the school record for strikeouts in a season by two pitchers. Vasquez and Vedo, the first set of pitchers to finish with 100 or more strikeouts in a single season, have struck out 212 combined hitters, tying them with Zito and Bryan Noyes in 1997 for the school mark.
Vasquez is primed to become the first Gaucho pitcher since Loren Fraser in 2004 with a sub-2.00 ERA. His current mark would be sixth in single-season history.
Brandon Trinkwon's walk-off single with two outs in the ninth inning of the first game scored Peter Maris as the Gauchos loaded the bases vs. Utah. For Trinkwon, it was his 31st RBI of the season, which is second on the team.
UCSB plays against Utah in a 2 p.m. game on Saturday and concludes the season with a 4 p.m. first pitch on Sunday vs. CSU Bakersfield. Head coach Andrew Checketts can tie the school mark for wins by a first year head coach with a victory in either game.