May 2, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara (29-15, 8-5) let another game slip away in the late innings, dropping Friday's contest against Cal State Fullerton (28-15, 12-4) 7-4 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Sophomore ace Mike Ford pitched into the eighth inning, but the Gaucho bullpen couldn't maintain a three-run lead for the second consecutive game. Titan starter Jeff Kaplan pitched a complete game allowing four runs on seven hits.
The Gauchos scored first in the bottom of the third, as third baseman Patrick Rose launched a solo home run to deep right center field. Rose's first homer of the year gave UCSB a 1-0 lead after three innings of play.
Fullerton notched a run in the top of the sixth on a solo shot off the bat of third baseman Joel Weeks. Week's first home run on the year tied the game at 1-1 after five and half.
UCSB was able to plate a run in the bottom of the sixth as Steve Cook led off with a single to shallow center field. After advancing to second on a groundout, Cook found himself on third base courtesy of a wild pitch. Chris Fox stepped to the plate and calmly laced an RBI single up the middle, to break the 1-1 tie.
UCSB scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh to increase their lead to three, 4-1. With John DeAlba on second and Rose on first, Catcher Chris McMurray pounded a ball in the right center field gap. McMurray sped around the bases, diving headfirst into third base for a two-run triple. McMurray's second triple of the year gave the Gauchos a three run lead after seven innings.
After surrendering a lead off double to Jared Clark and walking designated hitter Brian Wilson, Ford exited the game with seven innings under his belt. Clayton Edwards came on in relief and immediately retired Gary Brown on a comebacker to the mound. With runners on second and third and one out, Weeks struck again, lining a double down the right field line. Week's fourth hit of the day drove in two to bring the Titans within one, 4-3. After walking the next batter he faced, Edwards gave way to the Gauchos most reliable reliever thus far, Kyle Brown. With runners on second and third and two out, Brown gave up a two-run double to Josh Fellhauer. Fellhauer's extra-base hit gave the Titans their first lead of the day, 5-4. Two batters later, Brown surrendered another RBI base hit to Titan shortstop Christian Colon. The five-run eighth put Fullerton on top, 6-4.
Jason Roenicke surrendered a leadoff home run to Clark to start the ninth inning, increasing the Titan lead to three.
UCSB was unable to mount a rally in the bottom half, as Kaplan retired the side in order.
Ford pitched seven solid innings, allowing three runs on six hits, striking out four and walking five.
Kaplan (8-1) pitched his second complete game of the year, allowing four runs on seven hits, while striking out four and walking only one. Joel Weeks provided the thump for the Titats going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and three RBI. Fellhauer added a pair of hits in a 2-for-5 effort, with one run scored and two RBI.
Rose had the best day of any Gaucho going 2-for-3 with two runs scored and one RBI. McMurray added a pair of RBI in a 1-for-3 day at the plate.
The Gauchos resume action tomorrow, May 3 at 1:00 p.m. as they square off against Fullerton in game two of the three-game set. Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands (5-2) looks to return the Gauchos to their winning ways, as he battles Titan starter Daniel Renken (4-3).