April 16, 2010
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Cal State Fullerton entered Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Friday with a No. 22 overall ranking and a team batting average of .321.
That hardly mattered to UC Santa Barbara junior left-handed pitcher Mario Hollands.
The Gauchos' ace allowed three runs on eight hits in 8.2 innings and received home runs from Marty Mullins and Gunnar Terhune in a 5-3 victory. The win extends the Gauchos' winning streak to four straight, while snapping a losing skid to the Titans at four.
It also gave UCSB a very important Big West Conference series-opening win against a team that won three games last week against ranked opponents. UCSB is now 16-12 overall and 3-1 in the Big West while CSUF falls to 18-13, 5-2.
The runs Hollands allowed were three solo home runs - two by Fullerton shortstop Christian Colon - and appeared to throw his third complete game of the season. Yet with two outs in the ninth, Joey Siddons reached on Sean Williams' error, giving Fullerton hope.
Jesse Meaux, who is scheduled to start on Sunday, came in and walked Colon before getting Gary Brown (who entered the game batting .443 this season) to line out to center for the final out.
The Gauchos' tied the game in the second inning on Matt Valaika's bases-loaded walk against CSUF emergency starter Kyle Mertins.
Mertins was starting because the Titans' regular Friday starter, Noe Ramirez, broke his left hand earlier this week at practice. Ramirez was struck in the face by a batted ball while he was shagging balls in the outfield and the ensuing fall broke a bone in his left hand.
The Gauchos got to Mertins in the third when Mullins hit a two-out, no-doubter of a home run to left field. UCSB added another run on Ryan Palermo's single that scored Ryan Tregoning, who walked and moved to second on a wild pitch.
That ended Mertins' day, but his replacement, Dylan Floro pitched very well.
Floro limited the Gauchos to two runs over 4.1 innings with those two runs coming on Terhune's two-run blast in the seventh. That excited a large contingent of Gaucho fans who were out a day early in preparation for Saturday's "Gunnar Shades" giveaway. Don't know what "Gunnar Shades" are? Click here to find out.
After Colon's leadoff home run on Hollands' second pitch, the Gaucho lefty settled down. He retired 15 of the next 19 batters to get through six innings. Colon homered to lead off the eighth inning, his 10th round-tripper of the year, and Nick Ramirez hit a one-out blast in the ninth. But that would be all as the Gauchos' defeated a ranked team for the second time this season.
Saturday's and Sunday's games vs. the No. 22 Titans will be broadcast on AM 1490 and streaming live online at UCSBgauchos.com. Steve Wendt will handle the play-by-play duties with every Big West weekend series scheduled to air live on the radio and streaming live online. Click here for more information and a schedule of baseball games on the air.
Tickets to all games can be purchased by calling (805) 893-UCSB or by clicking here where fans can buy online and print at home.
The "Gunnar Shades" video, which is already the most-viewed video on UCSB's own YouTube page has gained national exposure.
Sports Illustrated's website, SI.com, featured the video on Thursday morning's "Hot Clicks," a daily gathering of web links by Jimmy Traina pertaining to sports. Click here to check it out.
Also, ESPN.com's Los Angeles page has posted the video via its Southern California colleges blog, courtesy of D.J. Foster. Check it out by clicking here. The blog also covers all UCSB sports, so be sure to bookmark it and check back often.