April 6, 2007

Gauchos Tally Two Runs Late to Record First Big West Win, 5-4 at UC Riverside

April 6, 2007

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara scored three runs in the top of the eighth inning to defeat UC Riverside 5-4 Friday afternoon at the Riverside Sports Complex. The Gauchos improve to 12-17 overall and 1-1 in Big West play while the Highlanders drop to 19-12 and 1-1 in Big West play.

The game started slowly with the teams matching scoreless frames through the first three innings. UCSB took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on Mike Zuanich's run-scoring double and added a run in the sixth on a bases loaded walk. Riverside junior southpaw Marc Rzepczynski surrendered three consecutive singles to open the inning and was relieved by junior lefty Dan Runzler after falling behind 1-0 to Shane Carlson. Runzler issued three straight balls to force in the Gauchos' second run. Runzler, however, managed to get out of the inning with no further damage.

On the other side, UCSB left hander Chuck Huggins was mowing down the Highlanders. He carried a no-hitter into the sixth. Huggins retired 18 of the first 20 batters he faced, only walks in the third and fifth. Center fielder Carl Uhl broke up Huggins no-hitter in the bottom of the sixth, leading off with a bunt single to the pitcher. Uhl was originally called out but the play was reversed when the plate umpire saw that the ball had dropped from Blauer,s glove at first. Huggins then induced a fielder's choice groundout and caught right fielder Joey Gonzales stealing to keep the game at 2-0.

With the no-hitter broken up, the Highlanders got to Huggins for four runs in the seventh. After Pedroza singled to open the inning, left fielder Aaron Wible continued his home run binge with an opposite-field two-run blast that cleared the high wall in right-center field and tied the game at 2-2. Two outs later, second baseman Ben Price singled to right and third-sacker Phil Boscarino walloped a 2-1 pitch high off the screen in left for his first career home run, giving UCR 4-2 lead.

Runzler ran into trouble in the eighth, loading the bases on walks to catcher Chris McMurray and pinch hitter Steve Domecus, and hitting Carlson. That marked the end of Runzler's afternoon as he was replaced by right handed Joe Kelly. Chris Fox greeted Joe Kelly with a two-run single up the gut to tie the game. Right fielder Mario Lewis then grounded out to third, but it was slow enough o score Domecus, who had moved to third on the single by Fox. Domecus broke the 4-4 tie, giving UCSB a 5-4 edge.

UCR put the tying run on second in the eighth when Uhl led off with a double down the left field line. But he was picked off of second and that ended the threat. The Gauchos, in turn, put runners on first and third in the ninth but Kelly got a double-play ball to end the inning. Freshman pinch-hitter Ryan Goetz doubled with two outs in the ninth off Justin Segal to put the tying run on second but he was stranded there as Segal struck out Price on an inside pitch for his fourth save of the campaign.

Huggins (4-0) gained the win, going seven innings and allowing four runs on five hits. He struck out five and walked two and was the second UCSB hurler to take a no-hitter into the sixth inning in the last six days. Segal grabbed his fourth save, giving up a pair of hits and striking out two in two innings of work. Patrick Rose went 3-for-5 for the Gauchos while Fox and McMurray each had two hits. Fox also had two RBI.

Runzler (2-6) was tagged with the loss despite not giving up a hit in 2 1/3 innings. He allowed three runs on three walks while striking out four. Rzepczynski lasted five innings, striking out seven while conceding two runs on eight hits and two walks.

UCSB and UCR will complete the three-game series on Saturday afternoon with a 1:00 p.m. game at the Riverside Sports Complex.