April 5, 2003
Santa Barbara, Calif. - A big first inning wasn't enough for UC Santa Barbara (18-14, 1-1) to defeat visiting UC Irvine (12-20, 1-1) on Saturday. After scoring three times to start off the game, the Gauchos were forced to come from behind to try to maintain their five game win streak.
UCSB attacked early off of Anteater starter Brett Smith. Josh McCanne drove in Nate Sutton with a double. Taylor Vogt followed with an RBI singe. Chris Malec later grounded out to give the Gauchos the 3-0 lead.
Gaucho starter Eric Posthumus wasn't able to hold the lead as Irvine scored two unearned runs in the 3rd inning and once more in the 4th. A bases loaded double play brought in the first run and a wild pitch by Posthumus brought the second Anteater home. Matt Falk led off the next inning with a towering homerun over the fence in right to tie up the score. Irvine would push one more run across the plate with a 5th inning sacrifice fly, giving the Anteaters their first lead of the day, 4-3.
In a game where the Gauchos couldn't get the lead back, three times they scored a single run to tie the ballgame. Vogt came through with his second RBI single to score Sutton in the 5th. Brian Adams singled with the bases loaded in the 7th to bring in Nic Rodriguez. Unfortunately, Matt Wilkerson was thrown out at the plate trying to score the go-ahead run.
Once again facing a one-run deficit, the Gauchos were able to stave off defeat in the 9th. With two out, Wilkerson singled off of reliever Jimmy Alstot to keep the game alive. On a 2-2 pitch, Malec hit a moon-shot that the shortstop B.J. Eucce seemed to have in his sights. But the windy day caused Eucce to drop it, and to make matters worse, kick the ball towards the Gaucho bullpen. Wilkerson scored easily on the play, but Malec was not as fortunate. The attempt to throw Malec out at third got away, causing the Gaucho sophomore to make a break for the plate. Irvine second baseman Matt Fisher picked up the errant ball and easily threw out Malec at the plate.
Irvine scored the final run of the day in the 11th inning thanks to a Brett Dalton sacrifice fly. Jon Horwitz led off the inning with a triple to set up the winning run. Horwitz ended the day 4-for-6 with three runs scored. Dalton was 1-for-3 with two RBI.
The Gauchos couldn't capitalize on their opportunities, twice having the go-ahead run at second with nobody out. Four times UCSB had the potential tying or go-ahead runner thrown out at the plate. Eleven runners were stranded on base, including McCanne in the 11th at the end of the game.
Jimmy Alstot (2-4) picked up the win for Irvine after pitching five innings of relief. He only surrendered two hits and allowed only one unearned run to score. Jared Edrosolan (0-2) was credited with the loss. Edrosolan pitched effectively, but made the one mistake to Horwitz.
The series will be decided tomorrow at 1:00 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. UCSB will start junior right-hander Matt Vasquez (2-2, 4.24 ERA). UC Irvine will counter with Paul French (0-2, 3.44).