April 13, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson blasted his eighth home run of the season and junior center fielder Matt Emerick went 3-for-4 with two RBI and one run scored as the UC Santa Barbara baseball team (17-17) topped No. 25 USC (22-10) 9-8 Wednesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. In a predetermined 4.0 inning start, senior Loren Fraser (3-2) earned his third victory of the season allowing only four hits and three earned runs.
Santa Barbara jumped out to an early 2-0 lead as Wilkerson blasted a two-run shot over the right field fence. With the home run, Wilkerson moved into a tie for second place on the UCSB all-time career home runs list with 37. He is currently tied with former Gaucho standout Jeff Antoon (1989-92). Wilkerson needs only four more round-trippers to catch UCSB home run king David Willis.
The Trojans cut the lead down to one run as they tallied three in the top of the fourth inning. Third baseman Billy Hart and first baseman Matt Cusick each had RBI base hits.
The Gauchos would stretch their lead two, as they put up a run in the bottom of the fifth inning. Emerick hit a sacrifice fly to right field to score freshman designated hitter Matt Aidem.
UCSB extended its lead to five runs with the help of junior first baseman Bill Rowe's second home run of the season in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Southern Cal would make the game interesting, as it put up three more runs in the top of the eighth inning.
Emerick gave the Gauchos an insurance run they would surely need as he came up with clutch two-out RBI single to right field in the bottom of the eight inning.
Emrick's RBI proved to be the game winner as USC catcher Jeff Clement would blast his eighth home run of the season off UCSB closer Alex McRobbie in the top of the ninth.
McRobbie picked-up his seventh save of the campaign by keeping the Gauchos on top in the final two innings. McRobbie entered the game in the top of eighth inning with the bases loaded and nobody out. McRobbie promptly got Trojan left fielder Baron Frost to ground into a double play. He then got USC center fielder Darin Vieira to groundout to shortstop Chris Malec to end the inning.
USC starting pitcher Anthony Encinas (2-2) dropped his second start of the season by allowing three hits and four earned runs in 2.0 innings of work.
The Gauchos return to action on Friday as they head to Westwood, Calif., to begin a three-game set with UCLA. The first pitch is scheduled for 6:00 pm. The two teams then travel up to Santa Barbara to finish off the final two games at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The games are slated to begin at 1:00 pm.