Feb. 26, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For the second consecutive day, UCSB (3-5) was unable to plate more than a single run against Cal (7-7), this time falling 6-1 in game two of a two-game series that ended on Monday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Gauchos collected eight hits on the day, three of them coming off the bat of leadoff hitter Chris Fox. Fox, who entered Monday's game hitting .421, raised his average to an astounding .478 with a three-for-four performance on the day. The left-handed hitting centerfielder tallied two doubles, a single and a run scored against the Golden Bears in the loss. Fellow El Camino College transfer Mike Zuanich also continued his hot hitting, batting two-for-three on the day. With the outstanding day at the plate, Zuanich now ranks second on the team in term of batting average at .400.
Senior southpaw Jeff Braun got the start for the Gauchos, lasting three and two-thirds innings while surrendering three runs on three hits and four walks to be tagged with the loss. Freshman Mike Ford made his fourth appearance of the year, tossing three and a third innings in relief of Braun. Ford allowed two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out five. With the five punch-outs, the Scottsdale, Ariz. native has now collected an impressive 14 strikeouts in 7.1 innings pitched. Junior left-hander Chuck Huggins contributed a third of an inning out of the Gaucho bullpen, facing three batters and walking one. Senior closer Justin Segal finished the game on the hill for the Gauchos, tossing the final inning and two-thirds, surrendering a run on two hits while striking out two batters.
First baseman David Cooper led the Golden Bears offensively, exploding for a two-for-three day with two homers, three runs scored and three RBI. For Cooper, the homeruns were the third and fourth on the season. Designated hitter Jeff Kobernus, who hit out of the leadoff spot on Monday, finished the game three-for-four with a double and a run scored.
Cal starter Greg Redig pitched a scoreless first inning before being replaced by left-hander Mike Cassady and the Golden Bear bullpen. Cassady tossed the next inning and a third for Cal, surrendering the lone Gaucho run, before giving way to the game's eventual winning pitcher, Nick Nunez. Nunez threw three and two-thirds innings, allowing only one hit and a walk en route to his first win of the season. Matt Gorgen closed the game for Cal, dealing the final three innings to earn his second save on the year. In those innings, Gorgen collected an unbelievable seven strikeouts, including two to escape a Gaucho rally in the eighth inning.
The Golden Bears wasted no time taking the lead in the top of the first, plating a run with the use of only the first and second hitters in their lineup. Kobernus led things off with a screaming line-drive down the left field line to set things up for Josh Satin. Satin took advantage of his opportunity to hit with a runner in scoring position, singling back up the middle to plate Kobernus and give Cal the early 1-0 advantage. Left-hander Braun maintained his composure in the inning, inducing a double-play grounder on the next play before retiring the side on a line-out to second baseman Matt Valaika.
Cal stretched its lead to 2-0 in the top of the third, pushing a single run across in the frame. Third baseman Michael Brady led off with an infield single before moving to second base on a Braun wild pitch. After a walk and a sacrifice bunt moved runners to second and third, Cooper lofted a deep fly ball into centerfield to earn the sacrifice fly and give the Golden Bears their second run of the game.
UCSB answered back with one run in the bottom half of the inning to cut the deficit to one run once again. A leadoff double by Fox got the ball rolling for UCSB in the inning. On the ensuing play, freshman Cody Dee produced an infield single to put runners at the corners with no one out. After senior Robbie Blauer was retired catcher to first base to move runners to second and third with one out, Nunez was called-upon out of the Cal bullpen to get out of the inning. Nunez came on and retired Zuanich on strikes for a critical second out of the inning. On the ensuing play, senior Mario Lewis walked and the pitch got away from catcher Dylan Tonneson, allowing Fox to slide home safely for the only Gaucho run on the day.
The Golden Bears tallied single runs in the fourth, fifth, seventh and ninth innings to take the eventual final lead of 6-1. Blake Smith led off the fourth inning with a walk before moving to third on a sacrifice bunt and a groundout. With two out and a runner at third, Tonneson drew a walk to put runners at the corners and call an end to Braun's day. Ford came on and gave up a single to Brady to plate the third Cal run of the game. In the fifth, a leadoff walk to Cooper resulted in a run four batters later when Brett Munster singled down the right field line to plate Cooper. Cooper took it upon himself to do the rest of the damage on the day, blasting solo homers to start both the seventh and ninth innings for Cal.
The Gauchos managed to mount a threat in the bottom of the eighth with the score showing 5-1 in favor of Cal. Blauer led off with a single to bring up Zuanich. The Torrance, Calif. native followed suit with a single of his own to put runners at the corners with no one out. Unfortunately for the Gauchos, Gorgen refused to surrender a run out of the bullpen, tallying back-to-back strikeouts and getting pinch-hitter Clayton Shank to pop out to second base to spoil the Gaucho rally.
UCSB will return to action when it hits the road and heads to Beaumont, Texas to take part in the Lamar Classic hosted by the Lamar Cardinals. The Gauchos will play three games in the tournament, being pitted against the Cardinals on Friday, March 2 at 4:30 p.m. UCSB will then take on St. John's at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday before finishing the three-day tournament against Kansas State on Sunday at 9 a.m.