Feb. 23, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team completed a three-game sweep of Marist by winning both games of Saturday's doubleheader in convincing fashion at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos won the opener 8-4 and returned to the field to take a 13-4 victory in the nightcap.
UCSB (3-0) redshirt freshman Mario Hollands pitched beautifully in his first collegiate start, while the Gaucho offense provided more than enough run support in game one. Hollands pitched six strong innings allowing only three hits while striking out eight and walking none. The El Cerrito, Calif. native looked calm throughout, mixing the speed and location of his pitches throughout the outing.
"I was very pleased with the way he [Hollands] pitched today," said UCSB pitching coach Tom Myers. "He had great command of his two-seam fastball and stayed ahead in the count all day."
The lanky southpaw allowed just one Marist (0-3) runner past second base, while using a four-pitch repertoire to silence the Red Fox offense.
"Mario threw four pitches for strikes today - the fastball, curveball, slider, and change," Myers said.
The Gauchos scored five runs in the fourth inning, chasing Marist starter B.J. Martin from the game. An RBI groundout by Mike Zuanich plated Chris Fox for the first run of the game. With one out, John DeAlba laced a 3-2 offering from Martin down the right field line, scoring Eric Oliver. DeAlba wound up with a triple, one of three in the game for Santa Barbara. Shane Carlson followed suit, tripling into the left centerfield gap, scoring DeAlba and Chris McMurray. The final run of the inning came when Carlson scored on a throwing error by the Red Fox infield.
In the fifth, Fox tripled and was plated by a Zuanich single up the middle. A McMurray solo shot and a Fox RBI single in the sixth put the Gauchos up 8-0.
The Red Foxes countered in the eighth inning with three runs of their own. An error, a walk, and a three-run homerun by pinch hitter Ben Henderson put Marist back in the game, but it wouldn't be enough.
Senior Michael Martin came on in the ninth and allowed one run, but induced Henderson to groundout to first base to end the game, securing the 8-4 victory.
Chuck Huggins took the mound in game two. Not to be outdone by his staff mates (Mike Ford and Hollands), Huggins pitched five innings and struck out eight while allowing only two earned runs. It was career victory number seven for the senior.
Brian McDonough hit a two-out, two-run homerun in the first to give Marist an early lead. However, it would be the only two runs surrendered by Huggins all day as the crafty left-hander settled down the rest of the way.
"After the first inning Chuck pitched very well and had great command of his stuff," said Myers. "I was most pleased by the fact that he didn't walk anyone."
The Gaucho offense exploded for five runs in the bottom half of the first, quickly erasing the two-run deficit. A throwing error allowed Patrick Rose to score the first run of the game for UCSB. Aided by a strong wind blowing out to left, Zuanich and Carlson each belted two-run homeruns off Marist starter Stephen Peterson to put the Gauchos ahead for good, 5-2. Peterson would not make it out of the second inning, allowing five earned runs on six hits in 1.1 innings of work.
The unrelenting offense scored one run in each of the next four frames, and burst out in the sixth for an additional four runs. Freshman Mark Haddow started the inning off with a single through the left side, his first hit as a Gaucho. Shortstop Matt Valaika followed with a single, putting runners on the corners. With one out, freshman Bryce Tafelski ripped a two-run double down the left field line, his first hit as a Gaucho as well. Two two-out RBI doubles from Brian Gump and Robby Cummings put the Gauchos ahead 13-4.
The game was called due to darkness after senior Kyle Brown put the game on ice by pitching a perfect top half of the seventh.
UCSB hit .369 as a team, amassing 30 runs, six doubles, three triples, four homeruns, 25 RBI, and 10 steals in the three-game series. Santa Barbara won Friday's opener 9-0.
"We had a great weekend offensively as a team," head coach Bob Brontsema said.
Brontsema singled out Fox's and Carlson's success in particular.
Fox hit .583 with a triple, a homerun, four RBI, and three steals in the series. Carlson was not far behind, hitting an even .500 with a triple, a homerun, and five RBI over the weekend.
The pitching staff was equally impressive with each of the three starters picking up wins. Combined, the starting three pitched 18 innings, allowing only 10 hits, two earned runs, and one walk, while striking out 27. The trio's combined ERA was 1.00.
"Our starters were fantastic, but it was also nice to get some of the younger guys like (Jesse) Meaux and (Forest) Cannon in the mix today," said Myers.
Myers also reiterated that the staff's mindset is to force contact. That being said, he was excited by the 35 combined strikeouts he witnessed over the weekend.
The Gauchos resume play on Wednesday, Feb. 27 as they take on No. 1 UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium in Los Angeles (6 p.m.). The Bruins opened their season Saturday with a doubleheader split against Oklahoma, winning the first game 7-5 and falling 3-2 in twelve innings in the second.
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