April 21, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Joe Winterburn belted a two-run home run to cap a four-run seventh inning rally and Jesse Meaux tossed his first complete game of the season as UC Santa Barbara beat visiting Long Beach State 5-3 in the first game of a three-game Big West series on Thursday afternoon.
For Winterburn, a freshman catcher who also threw out two would-be 49er base stealers, it was his first career home run.
"We've talked about being aggressive at the plate," said UCSB head coach Bob Brontsema. "Obviously he (Long Beach Starter Andrew Gagnon) is a great strike thrower, but that ball was up and Joe likes it there and really drove it."
Gagnon allowed just five hits and walked two in the game. Fortunately for the Gauchos, three of the five hits came in the decisive seventh inning.
With one out, Mark Haddow doubled to center field. One out later, Joe Wallace grounded a ball into the hole at short. Long Beach shortstop Kirk Singer made a backhand play on the ball but dropped it and Wallace was safe at first. Haddow moved to third. After Wallace stole second base, third baseman Ryan Palermo doubled over first base, scoring both runners, tying the score at 3-3 and setting the stage for Winterburn's home run.
Both teams scored an unearned run in the first inning. The 49ers added two in the top of the third on a two-run home run to right field by first baseman Ino Patron, but at that point, Meaux settled down, scattering just four hits over the final six innings. He allowed 10 hits and three runs, two of which were earned, struck out six and walked none.
"Tom (Pitching coach Tom Myers) came to me after the seventh and said he (Meaux) had thrown 101 pitches," Brontsema said. "We stayed with him because he had really settled down. After he made just five pitches in the eighth, we didn't even have to think about sending him out for the ninth."
The win was the second in a row for the Gauchos, who improve to 16-16 overall and 3-4 in the Big West. Long Beach State drops to 18-17 overall and 5-5 in the league.
The same teams will play a 3:00 p.m. game on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium and a 1:00 p.m. game on Saturday. To purchase tickets, please call (805) 893-UCSB, visit the Ticket Office located inside the Intercollegiate Athletics building on campus or buy online and print at home by clicking here.
All UCSB weekend games are broadcast live on AM 1290 KZSB, the Santa Barbara News-Press radio station, and all game can be heard live on-line at UCSBgauchos.com.