Feb. 11, 2006
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Junior Chris Valaika, sophomore Alden Carrithers and freshman Matt Clark each tallied multiple hits to guide UC Santa Barbara (2-1) past San Jose State (2-3) by a score of 8-5 on Saturday in game two of a three-game series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Valaika led the Gaucho offense, batting three-for-four with an RBI, two runs scored and a stolen base in the game. The Valencia, Calif. native is now four-for-seven (.570) against the Spartans in the series. For the third consecutive game, Valaika's other half, second baseman Carrithers, had a strong day at the plate. The Portland, Ore. native batted two-for-four with two runs scored, a double, an RBI and a stolen base. Headed into Sunday's rubber match with San Jose State, both Valaika and Carrithers are batting .500 (6-12) on the season.
After a finger injury forced senior Steve Morlock to miss his scheduled Saturday start, UCSB sent junior Brian Tracy to the mound a day early to battle Loren Moneypenny on Saturday. Tracy had an excellent showing in his first start of 2006, lasting five innings, scattering two hits and giving up no earned runs to earn the win.
After walking the first two batters of the game, Tracy settled down to induce a double play ball off the bat of designated hitter Greg Fyfe. With two out and a runner at third, first baseman Brandon Fromm flew out to Brian Lee in left field to end the inning and the Spartan threat.
UCSB took the defensive momentum from the top half of the first and turned it into offensive output in its half of the frame. For the third consecutive game, Carrithers reached base to start the Gaucho offense. After a Carrithers stolen base and a Lee walk, Valaika singled to load the bases. On the ensuing play, each base runner moved up ninety feet on a Moneypenny wild pitch. With runners on second and third, senior Matt McColgan hit a deep fly ball to center field to score Lee from third and put the Gauchos on top 2-0. In addition, Valaika also tagged up on the play, moving into third base for junior Robbie Blauer. Blauer followed suit and lofted a deep fly ball to right field to score the third and final run of the inning.
San Jose State cut the deficit to two, scoring a run in the third inning. Shortstop Raul Campos was hit by a Tracy fastball to start the inning. Following the hits batsman, Brody Massman singled into right field to put runners at first and second. On the next play, Carrithers committed an error that allowed Campos to come around to score. After Chris Williammee stole second to put runners at second and third, Tracy buckled down and got three key outs to prevent further damage. The Claremont, Calif. native got David Pierson to ground back to the mound before inducing a ground ball to Blauer at first who stepped on the bag and back-picked Williammee at second base for an inning-ending double play.
There was little offensive production for either squad until UCSB exploded for five runs in the seventh. Freshman Shane Carlson started the Gauchos off right with a double into the left centerfield gap. Carrithers swapped spots with Carlson on the next play when he also doubled into left-center to score the first run of the inning. After Lee beat out a bunt to put runners at the corners, Spartan Head Coach Sam Piraro brought in Brandon Hennessey to face Valaika. Valaika welcomed the new arm with an RBI single back up the middle to plate the second Gaucho run of the inning. Following the base hit, McColgan picked up his second double of the season, this time taking one off the right field wall to plate Lee and send Valaika to third. Piraro then chose to bring in left-hander Wes Porter to try to stop the bleeding. After getting one out, Porter gave up a single to junior Mario Lewis that scored Valaika and moved McColgan to third. After Lewis advanced to second on a wild pitch, the Gauchos once again traded an out for a run. This time it was senior Matt Emerick who hit a deep fly ball to right field to score the fifth and final Gaucho run.
Although down 8-1 headed into the ninth, SJSU refused to quit. The Spartans posted four runs in the frame, but came up short by a count of 8-5. After retiring the first batter of the inning, freshman Brandt Hill walked the next two batters and gave up a single to right field to load the bases. The Gauchos traded a run for the second out when Brett Prieto bounced out to Valaika at short. With runners at second and third, Sam Hall hit a ground ball that ricocheted off of Carrithers' glove at second and bounced into right field to score the runner from third. On the next play, Campos scored on a Hill balk that also sent Hall to second. With a runner at second and two out, Ben Agatep dropped a double down the right field line to cut the Gaucho lead to three. Now a save situation, the Gauchos brought in Clayton Edwards to finish off the Spartans. After a second balk call in the inning pushed Agatep to third, Edwards earned the save and got Ricky Sauceda to line out to Carlson at third base to end the game and secure the 8-5 victory for the Gauchos.
The Gauchos and Spartans will conclude their three-game series tomorrow at 1 pm at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Junior Bryan Fleming (1-0) is expected to be on the mound for the Gauchos.