April 25, 2004

Gauchos Avoid Sweep, Hand No. 30 Cal State Fullerton First Conference Loss

April 25, 2004

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara overcame a six-run deficit and exploded for eight runs in the eighth as the Gauchos avoided a three game sweep and knocked off No. 30 Cal State Fullerton 14-7 Sunday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos scored in double digits for the first time since March 25 and the win also marked UCSB's first victory over the Titans since May 12, 2001.

With the victory, UCSB snaps its five game losing streak and picks up its first Big West win since April 10 at UC Irvine. The Gauchos are now 24-17 and 2-7 in conference. For Fullerton, the loss was its first in Big West play and drops the Titans into second place behind 9-0 Long Beach State.

UCSB's three through seven hole hitters went a combined 13-for-25 and drove in eight RBI in the four-hour, 17-minute contest. Seven of nine Gaucho starters collected at least one hit and designated hitter C.J. Cook, who entered the game in the seventh, blasted his second career home run in the eighth.

Catcher Taylor Vogt finished 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two RBI, including the game-tying double in the decisive eighth. Right-fielder Matt Wilkerson went 2-for-5 with three RBI and the go-ahead two-RBI single following Vogt in the eighth. Cook also finished with three RBI.

Right-hander Alex McRobbie (1-0) picked up his first win by contributing a nearly perfect relief effort. The junior entered the game with the bases loaded and one out in the seventh and allowed just one hit while striking out three over the next 2.2 innings. McRobbie only allowed one of his inherited runners to score via sacrifice fly.

Right-hander Loren Fraser and southpaw Ivan Ramirez both also played roles out of the bullpen. With UCSB already trailing 6-0 in the third, Fraser relived UCSB starter Steve Morlock and held the Titans scoreless over the next three innings. Ramirez allowed one unearned run in his one inning of work. Morlock surrenderd six runs (five earned) in 2.1 innings.

Down by six runs early, UCSB scored in every frame from the fourth inning on as the Gauchos chipped away at the nationally ranked Titan's lead. With a run in the fourth, two in the fifth, one in the sixth, and two more in the seventh, the Gauchos found themselves trailing by just one run with two innings to play.

Facing Scott Sarver, Fullerton's fourth pitcher of the day, Greg Powers led off the eighth by getting hit by a pitch. After second baseman Chris Malec walked, Titan right-fielder Clark Hardman took over on the mound but fared no better. The first batter he saw was Vogt, who crushed his game-tying double off the center field wall. Next was Wilkerson who singled home the last two runs UCSB would actually need. The hit parade continued after that as freshman Chris Valaika, center fielder Matt Emerick, and Malec all added RBI singles. Nine of the Gauchos' 20 hits came in the seventh and eighth innings.

Sarver (1-2), who only lasted 0.1 of an inning suffered the defeat for Cal State Fullerton.

Titan starter Mike Martinez lasted five innings, surrendering four runs on ten hits while striking out five.

The Gauchos turned a season-high three double plays in the game, two of which ended threats in the fifth and sixth innings.

UCSB's hit total was the most surrendered by the Titans since February 22, 2002 against Stanford. The 14 runs is also the most given up by Fullerton all year.