May 6, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Senior shortstop Chris Malec returned to the diamond for the first time since undergoing surgery for testicular cancer on April 14 and senior relief pitcher Alex McRobbie tied UCSB's single-season and career saves records by shutting the door on a late inning Long Beach State rally as the UC Santa Barbara baseball team (20-25, 2-8) defeated the 10-ranked 49ers (32-15, 10-3), 8-6, on Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos scored six runs in the bottom of the third inning and held on for their second Big West Conference victory of the season. With the triumph, Santa Barbara ends its seven-game slide as well as snaps Long Beach State's five-game winning streak.
Santa Barbara starting pitcher Steve Morlock (5-7) looked very solid as he tossed 5.2 innings, allowing seven hits and four runs (all earned) while striking out two. " Steve battled and gave us a good 5 2/3 innings. He got us to where we needed to get. He got us to Justin Segal and Alex McRobbie," said head coach Bob Brontsema.
The Gauchos provided Morlock with plenty of run support. They tallied one run in the bottom the second inning, as junior center fielder Matt Emerick singled home senior catcher Matt Kalafatis, who got aboard with a double to the gap in right center field.
In the bottom of the third inning, the Gauchos caught fire as the tallied six runs off LBSU ace Caesar Ramos (9-5). Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson, sophomore third baseman Jack Pinkerton and junior first baseman Bill Rowe all drove in runners. Kalafatis blasted his third home run of the season over the right center field fence, helping the Gauchos take a 7-0 lead.
Wilkerson would then homer (10) in the bottom of the seventh inning, increasing his career home runs mark to 39. Wilkerson only needs two more round-trippers to tie current UCSB home run king Dave Willis.
Sophomore relief pitcher Justin Segal entered the game for Morlock, tossing 3.0 innings and allowed four hits and two runs (both earned). "Today, Justin was outstanding," stated head coach Bob Brontsema.
Senior closer Alex McRobbie picked-up his 10 save of the season as he closed the door on a late inning rally by the 49ers. LBSU shortstop Troy Tulowitzki hit a two-run home run (7) to bring The Beach within two runs. McRobbie entered the game and promptly got 49er third baseman Even Longoria to ground out to end the game. With the save, McRobbie not only ties Chris Quiroz (1999) for the single season saves record (10) but also ties Butch Seuberth (1986-87) for the most UCSB career saves at 14. With one more save this season McRobbie will set a new record in both single-season saves and career saves.
In the top of the seventh inning, senior Chris Malec was inserted into the game at shortstop, marking his first appearance on the field since undergoing cancer surgery on April 14. " Malec provided us with inspiration we were lacking and looking for. Combining the big win, Alex's saves record and Malec's return, it was an incredibly special day," head coach Bob Brontsema said.
The Gauchos return to action tomorrow as they continue the three-game Big West Conference set with Long Beach State at 1:00pm at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.