Gauchos Drop Ninth-Inning Heartbreaker in Series Finale at UC Riverside, 9-8

April 7, 2007

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. - Designated hitter Ryan Goetz's two-out RBI single in the bottom of the ninth inning capped a two-run rally to send the host UC Riverside to a 9-8 come-from-behind win over the visiting UC Santa Barbara at the Riverside Sports Complex Saturday. The Gauchos drop to 12-18 overall and 1-2 in the Big West while the Highlanders improve to 20-12 overall and 2-1.

UCR trailed 8-7 entering the bottom of the ninth against Gaucho closer Justin Segal. Segal got the first two outs of the inning, but then surrendered a triple high off of the center field wall to first baseman Mark Samuelson. Segal then induced a ground ball to short off of the bat of Highlander left fielder Aaron Wible, but Gaucho shortstop Shane Carlson's throw from the edge of the grass sailed over the outstretched glove of first baseman Mike Zuanich and into the dugout, scoring Samuelson to tie the game and putting Wible into scoring position. Goetz then followed with a sinking line drive that Gaucho center fielder Chris Fox dove for. The ball skipped past him and Wible, who was running on contact, easily scored to give Riverside the win.

Reliever Stephen Penney (2-1) earned the win in relief of senior starter Pat Cassa. Penney allowed just one hit but a pair of unearned runs in two innings of work. Segal fell to 1-2 with the loss.

The Gauchos scored five runs in the first inning on just one hit off of Cassa. After getting the first two outs, Cassa surrendered a walk to starting first baseman Robbie Blauer, he hit Zuanich with a pitch, then walked designated hitter Matt Anderson and catcher Chris McMurray. The walk to McMurray gave UCSB its first run and then right fielder Mario Lewis belted Cassa's next pitch deep down the left field line for a grand slam home run and a 5-0 lead.

UCSB added a single run in the top of the second when Blauer singled home Fox who had doubled and moved to third on a fly ball out by Patrick Rose.

But UCR's offense came alive and Cassa settled down, retiring 16-of-17 batters and 14 in a row. The Highlanders scored a single run in the second on an RBI groundout by second baseman Ben Price, another in the third on an RBI single by Pedroza, two in the fourth on a two run double by Price, then tied it in the sixth when Wible hit his sixth homer of the year.

UCR took the lead in the sixth on an RBI single by right fielder Joey Gonzales. The Gauchos reclaimed the lead in the top of the eighth, taking advantage of a controversial play to score a pair of runs. With runners on second and third and two outs, Lewis' slapped a nubber down the first base line. Penney came over to make the play, but his throw hit Lewis, who may have been running on the inside of the baseline. The ball skipped away and Zuanich and Brian Gump came around to score to make the score 8-7 and setting the stage for the bottom of the ninth comeback.

Freshman Mike Ford made the start for UCSB and lasted 5.2 innings, giving up seven runs, all earned, on 10 hits. Jeff Braun pitched 1.1 innings of solid relief and was then replaced by the unlucky Segal.

The Gauchos, who have lost seven of their last eight, return to the diamond when they host Pacific in a three-game Big West series at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium beginning on Friday, April 13 with a 2:00 p.m. game.