May 7, 2005
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -
Making his first start since undergoing testicular cancer surgery, senior shortstop Christ Malec crushed a grand slam in his first at-bat as the UC Santa Barbara baseball team (21-25, 3-8) made it two straight over 10th-ranked LBSU (32-16, 10-4) on Saturday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Once again, senior closer Alex McRobbie slammed the door shut on a late inning 49er rally.
UCSB starting pitcher Michael Martin earned his fifth victory of the year as he allowed The Beach only nine hits and three runs (all earned) in 6.0 innings of work. "Michael really pitched well and competed as he always does," said head coach Bob Brontsema.
Martin was assisted mainly by shortstop Malec as he blasted a grand slam off of Long Beach State starter Marco Estrada (7-1) in his very first plate appearance. The grand slam marked the first time UCSB had hit a grand slam this season. The Gauchos' last grand slam was back on April 30, 2004 against LBSU. It's fitting that it was Malec who last hit one. "It was a story book type game with Malec hitting a grand slam in his first start at-bat," stated head coach Bob Brontsema.
Senior designated hitter David Figoni hit his fifth home run of the season in the bottom of the third inning, giving the Gauchos a 5-1 lead.
Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson climbed the ladder once again as he hit a two-run shot in the bottom of the fifth inning. With his 11th home run this season, Wilkerson now has 40 career four-baggers at UCSB. The Santa Margarita, Calif., native is only one round-tripper shy of catching UCSB's current home run king Dave Willis.
Long Beach State would come back and make the game interesting as center fielder Sean Boatright and first baseman Brandon Godfrey would both homer off of UCSB reliever Justin Segal, cutting the Gaucho lead to only one run.
Closer McRobbie was called upon in the eighth inning and shut down the 49er rally. McRobbie picked-up his 11th save of the season as he allowed only one hit while striking out two in his 2.0 innings of work. "Alex came in and really shut the door. Everything was going their way at that time. I really can't say enough about him," said head coach Bob Brontsema. With the save, McRobbie set a new single-season saves record (11) as well as a new UCSB career saves record (15).
UCSB and Long Beach State return to action tomorrow in the final game of this three-game Big West Conference series. Sunday's first pitch is slated for 1:00 pm.