April 18, 2003
Fullerton, Calif. - Even when the Gauchos get hits, their pitching surrenders more than can be handled. UC Santa Barbara (18-20, 1-7) dropped their seventh straight game on Friday, all in Big West conference play. Cal State Fullerton (33-8, 7-1) pounded out 16 runs on 19 hits. The Gauchos helped by commiting three errors and walking five hitters.
Fullerton once again grabbed the early lead on Friday. Preseason All-American Shane Costa doubled to bring home Ronnie Prettyman, giving the Titans the 1-0 lead. Prettyman had an infield single to lead off the game. Costa was later picked off by Martin to quiet the opening-inning threat.
Martin couldn't escape the second inning against Fullerton. Loading up the bases with a single and two walks, he then walked Justin Turner with two outs to bring in a run. Pitching coach Dan Ricabal had seen enough and called on Rich Sorenson to come in relief. Sorenson hit the first batter he faced, Costa, in the leg to bring in another run. The next batter, Shane Costa, grounded to Josh Fulton at short. As with last night, Fulton had trouble with his throwing, pulling Josh McCanne off the bag for a throwing error. McCanne, on a heads up play, spun around and nailed Turner at the plate. The inning was over, but the damage was done and Fullerton increased their lead to 4-0.
The Gauchos fought back for three runs in the fifth inning. With two outs and two runners on, Nate Sutton drove a ball off the wall in dead center field, clearing the bases. On the next pitch, Titan starter Dustin Miller uncorked a pitch in the dirt, bringing Sutton in to score and bringing the Gauchos within one run, 4-3.
UCSB wasn't done in the inning, but wasn't able to tie up the score. Nic Rodriguez and McCanne each singled to chase Miller. Taylor Vogt walked to load the bases. Travis Ingle came in and caught Matt Wilkerson looking on what was a very questionable call by home plate umpire Rorke Kominek. The Gauchos were left with the bases loaded and head coach Bob Brontsema only able to give Kominek his opinion on the call.
Fullerton took advantage of the strike out and increased their lead with two more runs in the bottom of the inning. Costa singled and moved to second when Brian Adams misplayed the ball. He then scored when Kyle Boyer doubled to right-center. The Titans then brought in another run with a two out single by Danny Dorn, giving CSF a 6-3 lead.
Proving that an extended losing streak won't make the Gauchos go away, Santa Barbara clawed back for two more runs in the sixth. Sutton again came through with a two out hit. This one traveled significantly less distance-wise than his last, but was just as effective. The Gaucho third-baseman topped one off the plate and had it bounce high towards the shortstop. Justin Smyres had a do-or-die play, and couldn't come up with it. Chris Malec scored easily on the play, and when Smyres overran the ball Fulton hustled around to score as well. The two-RBI infield single brought the score to 6-5, Fullerton.
CSF put the game out of reach with multiple runs in the sixth, seventh and eighth innings.
Matt Wilkerson launched a solo home run to lead off the Gaucho eighth, his third on the season.
Martin (2-1) received the loss. He lasted 1.2 innings, allowing three hits and three earned runs, walking four and striking out two Titans. Travis Ingle earned his first win on the season with a solid relief outing.
This Big West series concludes on Saturday at 1:00 pm at Goodwin Field in Fullerton, CA. UCSB will send right-handed junior Matt Vasquez (2-3, 5.30 ERA) to the mound. CSF counters with junior righty Jason Windsor (5-1, 1.42). The Gauchos next play USC in Los Angeles on Tuesday, April 22 at 5:00 pm. The next home game is next Friday at 2:00 pm as Long Beach State comes in for a three game conference series.