April 9, 2006

UCSB Drops Series, Loses Game Three to UC Riverside 8-1

April 9, 2006

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB (14-15, 1-2) scored its only run of the game in the first inning en route to an 8-1 loss to UC Riverside (18-12, 2-1) in game three of a three-game series, in which the Highlanders earned the 2-1 series victory, on Sunday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Freshman Shane Carlson led all Gaucho hitters with a two-for-three day at the plate. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif. native tallied a double and a single in the contest. The only other Gauchos that collected a hit in the game were junior Robbie Blauer (1-4) and freshman backstop Chris McMurray (1-2).

Gaucho starter Jeff Braun lasted five innings, surrendering four runs on seven hits and five walks while striking out three batters en route to his first loss of the season. Freshman Clayton Edwards pitched one inning of relief, giving up three runs on two hits and three walks while striking out one Highlander. Regular starting pitcher Bryan Fleming made his first appearance out of the bullpen, lasting three innings and surrendering one run on two hits while striking out three.

Highlander designated hitter Nick Salotti had an outstanding day at the plate for UC Riverside. The big right-handed hitter batted three-for-five with two doubles, a home run, three runs scored and four RBI to guide the Highlanders to the 8-1 victory. Shortstop Brian Steinmeyer also went deep for the Highlanders, finishing the game one-for-three with a walk.

UC Riverside starter Taylor Bills went all nine innings, surrendering a lone run in the first and giving up four hits and two walks while punching out five Gauchos en route to his fourth win of the season. With the tremendous outing, Bills lowered his ERA to 2.81.

For the third consecutive game, UC Riverside posted a run in the first inning. After a walk and a groundout put a runner at second base, Jeff Dunbar singled to left field to plate the first Highlander run of the game.

UCSB would answer back with its only run of the day in the bottom of the first. With one out, freshman Brian Gump was hit by a pitch to put a runner aboard. On the ensuing play, Chris Valaika traded places with Gump after hitting into a fielders choice that forced Gump out at second. Hot-hitting first baseman Blauer followed with his only hit of the day to put runners at the corners with two out. After a few pitches to senior Matt Emerick, UCSB decided to manufacture a run. UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema signaled for what looked to be a Blauer delayed steal from first base. When Dunbar attempted to throw Blauer out at second, Valaika scampered home for the successful double steal.

UC Riverside posted two more runs in the second inning, highlighted by Salotti's two-run homer over the wall in centerfield. The Highlanders tallied one run in both the fifth and sixth innings, with a home run off the bat of Steinmeyer contributing the run in the fifth and a single by Aaron Grant to score the run in the sixth.

The Highlanders tacked on three more runs in the seventh for good measure. Kyle Barratt led things off with a walk before moving to second after Aaron Wible was hit by a pitch. On the ensuing play, Salotti connected for his second double of the game to plate two UCR runs. After a wild pitch moved Salotti to third, he scored on a groundout to Valaika at shortstop to give the Highlanders the eventual 8-1 victory.

UCSB will hit the road next week for a three-game series with Pacific in Stockton, Calif. The series is scheduled to be played on Thursday, Friday and Saturday because of the Easter holiday. Game one is slated to start at 2 p.m. on Thursday.

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