Feb. 13, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - A six-run seventh inning for San Jose State was too much for the UC Santa Barbara baseball team to handle as the Gauchos fell in the opening game of this weekend's three-game series, 9-2.
Despite issuing nine walks, three Spartan hurlers were able to foil the Gauchos' home opener at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium Friday afternoon in front of an estimated crowd of just under 350 fans.
SJSU starter Matt Durkin, a third-team pre-season All-American, gave up the Gauchos' only runs, one in the third and one in the fourth. After the Spartans got on the board with a run in the second, UCSB used junior second baseman Chris Malec's RBI single to plate senior third baseman Nate Sutton to tie the game in the bottom of the third.
Durkin (1-0) tossed five solid innings, giving up just the two earned runs on six hits. The junior right-hander also struck out five.
Suffering the loss, UCSB starting pitcher Steve Morlock (1-1) gave up two more runs in the San Jose State third. After a walk and an error put runners at first and second, right fielder Travis Becktel singled up the middle to score one run. One hit batsmen later, catcher Mark Bautista singled in first baseman Brandon Fromm with an unearned run, the last one Morlock would surrender. The sophomore right-hander finished his day with 5.1 innings pitched while giving up three runs, two earned, on just three hits. He struck out one.
The score remained unchanged until the top of the seventh when the Spartans broke through for six runs against what has been a reliable UCSB bullpen. After junior right-hander Alex McRobbie struck out two Spartans to quell a rally in the top of the sixth, senior southpaw Ivan Ramirez took the hill in the seventh. Ramirez got the first out of the inning but a Nate Sutton throwing error allowed Spartan second baseman Kevin Frandsen to reach base and then a Brad Kilby double brought around Frandsen with SJSU's fourth run. After hitting a batter, Ramirez was replaced with junior Nate Holguin who fared not much better. The right-hander allowed three more runs on three hits before eventually getting the tenth batter of the inning to fly out to left. After it was all over, the Spartans had a 9-2 lead and the Gaucho bullpen had given up as many runs in one inning as it had in the previous four games combined.
Kilby, who moved from first base to the mound in the sixth inning, pitched three scoreless innings before giving way to right-hander Matt Winck, whose one-hit ninth drew a close to the game.
With the loss, UCSB's record drops to 3-2.
Despite the lopsided score, there were several bright spots for the UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema. Freshman right-hander Brian Tracy, with his father and Los Angeles Dodger manager Jim in attendance, tossed a scoreless eighth and ninth innings. Malec, with his third inning RBI single runs his current hit streak to eight games, dating back to May 16 of last year. Also, fourteen different Gauchos saw at-bats today, while designated hitter Greg Powers collected two of UCSB's seven hits.
The Gauchos and Spartans return to action tomorrow at 1 p.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.