Feb. 7, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
The 2006 UCSB baseball team opened its season with a bang by demolishing cross-town rival Westmont 16-1 on Tuesday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Juniors Chris Valaika and Robbie Blauer led the way offensively for the Gauchos. Valaika did not waste any time picking up his first hit, run and RBI when he drove a fastball over the wall in right field in his first at-bat this season. The Valencia, Calif. native finished the game batting two-for-five with two runs scored and four RBI. Blauer led all Gaucho hitters with three hits on the day. The transfer from Orange Coast College finished three-for-four at the dish with a run scored and an RBI.
Sophomore Alden Carrithers went two-for-three on the day, scoring three runs and driving in one. Junior Mario Lewis had an excellent showing in his first official game as a Gaucho. The Santa Ynez product batted two-for-five with a double, one run scored and two RBI. Freshman Shane Carlson, who was also making his Gaucho debut, batted an even .500 (two-for-four) on the day with two runs scored and an RBI.
The Gaucho pitching staff combined to hold the Warriors to one run on four hits. Junior Bryan Fleming got the start and the win for UCSB, throwing five strong innings and only surrendering one run on three hits. Junior Brian Tracy took over for the Gauchos and threw a scoreless sixth inning, allowing only one hit. Freshmen Anthony Martin, Brandt Hill and Clayton Edwards combined to no-hit the Warriors in the final three innings of the game. Hill faced five batters and struck out two in his only inning of work.
After Fleming took care of the Warriors in the top half of the first, UCSB wasted no time turning on the bats. Carrithers started the Gaucho offense with a leadoff single into left field. After Carrithers stole second, Valaika drove a fastball over the wall in right field to put the Gauchos on top 2-0.
The Gauchos poured on the offense in the second inning, scoring six runs in the frame. With one out, freshman Matt Clark got the ball rolling with a single into right centerfield. Carlson followed suit and drove a pitch into left field to put runners at first and second. After loading the bases with a walk, Warrior starter Jonathan White walked Brian Lee to score the third Gaucho run. Valaika made Westmont pay on the next at-bat by driving in two runs with a single, putting runners once again at first and second. Blauer added another Gaucho run with a single that scored Lee. After Blauer reached second on a wild pitch, Lewis drove in the last of the Gaucho runs with a single up the middle.
Neither team produced much offense in the third inning, but Westmont managed to put its only run on the board in the fourth. After a Vinny Lopez groundout, Nate Shaver tripled into the left centerfield gap. Up by eight, the Gauchos played the infield back and surrendered the run on a groundout by Jordan Ballard.
After posting zero runs in the third through seventh innings, UCSB exploded for eight runs in the eighth. Senior Matt Emerick got the Gauchos going in the inning with a leadoff single into center field. Junior transfer Clayton Shank picked up his first Gaucho base hit on the next play and Matt Emerick advanced to third on an errant throw to second. After an error by Warrior second baseman Shaver, Carrithers singled to center to drive in sophomore Patrick Rose, who pinch ran for Shank earlier in the inning. Freshman Brian Gump pinch hit for Dave Harrit and quickly picked up two RBI with a double to score Carlson and Carrithers. Senior Chris Webber picked up his first RBI of the season when he singled to center field to drive in Gump. After a Lewis double to put runners at second and third, senior Josh LaGrotta walked to load the bases. On the next play, Rose doubled down the left field line to clear the bases.
Although not a save situation, Edwards, a potential Gaucho closer, came in to shut the door in the top of the ninth. After letting two runners reach base, Edwards settled down to retire Erik Gaustad on a fly ball and induce a double play ball to end the game.
The Gauchos (1-0) return to action this Friday when they host San Jose State (1-2) for the first of a three-game set with the Spartans. Friday's game is scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start and junior Andy Graham is expected to be on the bump for the Gauchos.