March 11, 2004
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Behind another strong pitching effort from Michael Martin and the Gaucho bullpen, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team defeated Big West rival Cal Poly 8-3 Thursday afternoon in game one of this weekend's three-game, non-conference series. Junior second baseman Chris Malec paced the Gaucho offense going 2-for-4 with three RBI and designated hitter Greg Powers improved his team-leading average with another 2-for-4 performance and two RBI.
The win improves UCSB's record to 11-8 while Cal Poly drops to 17-8-1.
Martin (5-0) pitched six effective innings, allowing just three runs on six hits to win his fifth game in six starts. He struck out three and walked a season-low one batter. Southpaw Ivan Ramirez and right-handers Nate Holguin and Aaron Jones combined to hold the Mustangs to just one hit over the game's final three frames. The trio combined to strike out five of the ten batters they faced.
UCSB got on board with a run in the first and never trailed after that. Senior third baseman Nate Sutton singled to center, advanced to second on a wild pitch and then took third on Powers' groundout. Malec then stepped up and chopped an RBI groundout to second base to score Sutton and tally his first RBI of the day.
After Cal Poly responded with a run of its own in the top of the second, the Gauchos took the lead again and this time would not relinquish it. Again, with one out, it was Sutton prompting the Gaucho attack as he reached base via a walk, advanced to second on Mustang reliever Josh Hobson's balk and then scored a batter later when Malec sent a single into left field.
The Gauchos scored single runs in the fourth and fifth before putting the game away with a four-run sixth. With Cal Poly keeping the game close at 4-3, UCSB pieced together three hits and capitalized on a passed ball and an error by catcher Cory Taillon to put the game out of reach. With one out, freshman shortstop Chris Valaika and sophomore left fielder C.J. Cook both singled. After Sutton walked to load the bases, Powers picked up his two RBI by fisting a single down the left field line scoring Valaika and Cook. Two batters later with the bases full again, Mustang reliever Nick McMillan threw fastball that Taillon was unable to handle. As Sutton safely slid across home plate after the passed ball, Taillon threw to McMillan covering, but threw wildly which allowed Powers to come all the way around from second for the fourth run of the inning.
UCSB out-hit the Mustangs 11-7 in the two-hour, forty-five-minute affair and played errorless ball for the eighth time this season. UCSB improved its Big West leading fielding percentage to .978.
Gary Dayley (1-1) allowed two runs in 1.1 innings for Cal Poly in suffering the loss.
The Gauchos and Mustangs continue their three game series Friday at Bagget Stadium on the Cal Poly campus before returning to Caesar Uyesaka for Sunday's 1 p.m. finale.