March 5, 2008
Northridge, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (7-3) continued their early season offensive assault racking up 16 hits in their 9-3 win over Cal State Northridge (5-3) at Matador Field on Wednesday. The Gauchos, backed by a sterling effort from freshman right hander Greg Davis, scored four runs a piece in the third and fifth innings, tacking on an insurance run in the eighth to secure the victory.
Davis, making the first start of his Gaucho career, went six strong innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, striking out six and walking only one. Davis' victory marked the second time this season a freshman starter has won his first career outing, the first coming on February 23, when Mario Hollands won his debut against the Marist Red Foxes.
The Matadors struck first in the bottom of the first inning. Northridge second baseman Ryan Pineda doubled to center field and was driven in on the next at-bat courtesy of a Richard Cates single up the middle to put the Matadors ahead 1-0. It would be the Matador's only lead of the game as Davis would settle down the rest of the way, striking out at least one Matador in each of the next five innings.
The Gaucho offense got things going in the top of the third scoring four runs on five hits and two errors. Shortstop Matt Valaika led off with a single through the left side, the first of his four hits on the day. Chris McMurray followed with an RBI double to right center, scoring Valaika for the first Gaucho run of the game. Third baseman Robby Cummings, making his first start of the season, deposited a Ryan Juarez fastball over the right field wall, to give the Gauchos a 3-1 lead. With two outs Brian Gump singled and stolen second. Gump would score the final run of the fourth on a throwing error by Matador first baseman Chris Hannick, to give the Gauchos a 4-1 lead that they wouldn't relinquish.
Juarez would last only four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits, striking out none and walking two.
The Gauchos' unrelenting attack continued as another four runs crossed the plate in the top of the fifth. Chris Fox singled to get things started, advancing to second on a throwing error by Matador reliever P.J. Rousey. Eric Oliver singled and Mike Zuanich followed with a single of his own, scoring Fox from third base. With two out and runners on second and third, second baseman Shane Carlson continued his spectacular start doubling down the right field line to score Oliver and Zuanich. Valaika singled home Carlson on the ensuing at-bat, giving the Gauchos an 8-1 lead.
A sacrifice fly from DH Drew Muren in the sixth scored Cates to cut the Gaucho lead to six, 8-2.
Continuing his career day, Valaika led off the top of the eighth with a homerun to deep left field, his fourth hit and second RBI on the day.
The Matadors countered with a run of their own in the bottom half of the eighth, but it wouldn't be enough as Gaucho reliever Clayton Edwards came on in the ninth inducing a game-ending double play to seal the win.
Six Gauchos had at least two hits, led by Valaika who went a career-high 4-for-4 with a homerun, two runs scored and two RBI on the day. Cummings was 2-for-4 with a homerun, a run scored, and two RBI. McMurray was 2-for-4 with a run scored and one RBI.
Pineda was 2-for-5 for the Matadors with two runs scored. Cates went 2-for-3 with a run scored and two RBI.
The Gauchos tied a season-high with 16 hits in the game, the first time coming on February 23 in a 13-4 drudging of Marist.
The Gauchos travel to Houston, Texas for a three-game weekend set with the Cougars starting Friday at 4:30 p.m. PDT. It marks the first meeting between the two teams since 2003 when the Gauchos last beat the Cougars 4-2.