March 25, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Five UC Santa Barbara pitchers combined for a two-hit shutout over eight innings, and the Gauchos (15-7) used an opportunistic offense, en route to a 6-3 win over visiting Westmont (7-15) on Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Michael Martin (2-0) got UCSB off on the right foot by throwing two perfect innings to start things. The senior struck out three Warriors in his two innings. Martin was followed by freshmen Greg Davis and Jesse Meaux, who pitched two scoreless innings apiece. Davis allowed a pair of hits, but Meaux was perfect.
Freshman Forest Cannon and Jason Roenicke were next up, with each tossing a scoreless inning while striking out the side. In all, through eight innings, Gaucho pitchers allowed just two hits while striking out 11 and walking none. Junior Zach Samuels was tagged for three runs on three hits and a walk in the top of the ninth.
Santa Barbara scored its first run in the bottom of the first. With one out, Warrior pitcher Jonathan White (0-3) walked designated hitter Chris Fox. Fox moved into scoring position by stealing second base. First baseman Eric Oliver drove Fox home with a line drive double over the outstretched glove of Westmont third baseman Jordan Bottenfield.
The score remained 1-0 until the bottom of the sixth, when Oliver opened the inning by grounding an Erik Gaustad pitch deep in the hole at short. Westmont shortstop Anthony Martinez made a nice play to get to the ball, but his throw to first was late. Gaustad then sandwiched a Mike Zuanich pop-up to first with a pair of wild pitches, moving Oliver to third. Gaucho shortstop Shane Carlson hit a medium-deep fly ball to center field, scoring Oliver with the second run of the game.
UCSB blew the game open in the bottom of the seventh inning when it scored four runs, two earned, off of reliever Brandon Downs.
Catcher Chris McMurray opened the inning with a bunt single. He stole second and scored on a double to the gap in left center by third baseman Robby Cummings. Second baseman Gunnar Terhune tried to sacrifice Cummings to third base, but he was safe on a throwing error, putting runners at second and third. A fly ball by center fielder Brian Gump scored Cummings making it 4-0 Gauchos. A couple more errors led to two more runs and the score was 6-0 after six innings.
The score remained 6-0 into the top of the ninth when Westmont broke through for three runs, highlighted by a two-run single from first baseman Colton Christianson.
The win improved UCSB's record to 11-1 at home. The Gauchos will remain at home to open Big West Conference play this weekend against Cal State Northridge. Game one of the series will begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, Mar. 28.