March 20, 2010
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara split a doubleheader with New Mexico State on Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Mario Hollands was stellar in the first game, striking out 13 batters in six innings on a day that saw 38 runs cross home plate.
New Mexico State (12-10) erased the 7-1 Gauchos' lead by scoring eight runs in the last three innings after Hollands left the game. It would take some ninth inning heroics to make sure Hollands' effort did not go to waste.
The scoring started when the Gauchos batted around in the third inning, scoring four runs in the process.
NMSU Starting pitcher Dan Reid hit Matt Valaika and Mark Haddow to load the bases and force in a run with two outs. Trevor Whyte jumped on the opportunity to give Hollands a few insurance runs by stroking a bases-clearing double to left center to give UCSB a four-run lead.
Whyte added to the lead again in the fifth with an RBI single. Haddow reached on a hit by pitch and stole second to put himself in scoring position. Whyte promptly stroked a single to right field to drive in Haddow.
The Aggies pitchers struggled with control, and it came back to hurt them. The first four UCSB batters that received a free pass on a hit by pitch all came around to score, including Marty Mullins leading off the bottom of the sixth inning.
With Mullins on first, third baseman Ryan Palermo drove a ball out of the park to center field to stretch the lead to 7-1.
Jesse Meaux came in to relieve Hollands to start the seventh inning. Hollands finished with 13 strikeouts in six innings while allowing only one run on four hits.
New Mexico State right fielder Nate Shaver closed the gap in the seventh with a two-run home run to center to make the score 7-3.
Gunnar Terhune made a potentially game-saving catch in centerfield with two outs in the seventh and bases loaded with the tying run up to bat. Aggies catcher Ben Harty hit a deep fly to centerfield, and Terhune leaped at the wall to rob Harty of a game-tying grand slam.
The Aggies loaded the bases again in the eighth. After Matthew Brady walked in a run, Meals came to the mound with a four-run lead and the tying run at the plate with one out. After walking in another run, Meals struck out shortstop Ryan Aguayo and retired Mike Sodders on a fly ball to put an end to the threat.
Harty got even for being robbed in the seventh with a solo shot to lead off the top of the ninth to bring the Aggies within two runs.
After a single and two walks loaded the bases for the third consecutive inning, Meals struck out Shaver on a high fastball for the first out of the inning. Kyle Decater, who pinch-hit and came into the game in left field, cleared the bases with a three-run double to give New Mexico State a one-run lead.
Valaika led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk. After Whyte singled to right field, designated hitter Beck Wheeler hit a sacrifice fly to bring home the tying run from third.
With Ben Edelstein pinch running for Whyte, catcher Marty Mullins came to the plate with the winning run on first with two outs. Mullins hit a fly ball down the right field line that dropped in between the first baseman and right fielder, and Edelstein scored from first to end the game with a final score of 10-9.
Hollands' dominant six innings went towards a no decision, and David Meals earned the win by pitching the final 1.2 innings, striking out two in the process.
In the second game, New Mexico State jumped to an early lead in the third inning with a three-run home run off the bat of Shaver.
Whyte hit a monster two-run home run past the fence and over the tree down the right field line to turn a one-run defecit into a one-run lead.
The Aggies' bats did not let up. They answered back with three runs in the fourth and two more in the fifth to put them up 8-5 halfway through the game.
UCSB second baseman Sean Williams made a diving catch on a line drive hit by Harty in the fifth inning. Despite getting robbed on a grand slam in the first game and a base hit in the second game, Harty still hit three home runs on the day.
The Gauchos got back in the game in the bottom half of the fifth when Whyte hit an RBI single and came around to score on a pass ball.
UCSB was unable to score from the sixth inning on while New Mexico State added to their lead, ending the game with a final score of 12-7.
Whyte had a monster day at the plate, going 6-for-10 with seven RBI and two runs scored. He now leads the team with 15 RBI and 21 hits.
Terhune and Haddow were a big part of the Gauchos offense with three hits apiece on the day. Haddow led the team with four runs scored and drove in three runs as well.
Hollands' 13 strikeout performance is impressive, but it is not even the best line he has posted on the season, or even in the past week. He struck out a UCSB record tying 16 batters last weekend against Northern Illinois University, earning himself five different national pitcher of the week honors.
Hollands now leads the team with a staggering 36 strikeouts in 28 innings pitched. The junior lefty has twice as many strikeouts as hits allowed and sports a 2-0 record with a 1.93 ERA.
UCSB (9-5) will play the deciding game of the three-game series against NMSU Sunday at 11 A.M. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. They will continue the home-stand on Tuesday against UCLA.
To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or click here.
Season tickets are still available for UCSB baseball games with season plans starting as low as $50! Plus, all fans who purchase a season ticket will receive a free UCSB hat! Click here for more information.
The baseball team, along with all other UCSB teams, are part of the Gauchos Give Tickets program. Gauchos Give Tickets provides the opportunity for local businesses, non-profit, and charitable groups to attend regular season Gaucho home games for FREE! Along with the free tickets, groups can receive recognition during the game, participate in game promotions, and get a visit from Olé!.
Back again for the 2010 season is the Baseball Buddies program which allows youth teams to come to weekend Gaucho games and take the field with the Gauchos! The teams will also receive autographs from their favorite players and sing the 7th Inning Stretch. Please contact Alan Cassinelli in the Marketing office at (805) 893-4629 for more information or e-mail him email@example.com.