May 12, 2001
Fullerton, Calif. - 23rd-ranked UC Santa Barbara surprised top-ranked Cal State Fullerton for a second straight day, beating the host Titans 7-6 in ten innings at Goodwin Field.
In a see-saw battle with the top spot in the Big West Conference at stake, the Gauchos (37-12, 11-3) played a little bit better than the Titans (38-14, 11-3), pulling into a first-place tie with the hosts going into tomorrow's series finale. The win marks the first time UCSB has taken two from Cal State Fullerton since 1996.
With the game tied at 6 after nine innings, Tyler Von Schell led off the tenth with a sharp single to center, the Gauchos' first hit off Titan closer Chad Cordero. Jeff Bannon then fouled out to the third baseman before Jed Stringham flew out to center. Donovan Warrecker then came through with his second hit of the game and third double of the series, a shot over the right fielder's head and off the wall, on which Von Schell came around to score uncontested. That gave the Gauchos a 7-6 lead going into the Titan half.
Gaucho closer Jamie Gonzales came on to save the win for reliever Jeremy Sugarman (4-1). The Las Vegas native got the first batter to fly out to right and the second to chop a comebacker back to the box. He struck out the third batter looking to notch his eighth save of the year, two shy of the UCSB single season record, and extend his streak of scoreless innings to 11.2.
The game started slowly, with both pitchers, UCSB senior Rylie Ogle (9-2) and Fullerton freshman Darric Merrell (6-2), sending the opposition down in order in the first inning. However, the Gauchos scored the game's first runs for the second straight day shortly thereafter. In the top of the second, Dave Molidor led off with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch and advanced to the third sack on a Von Schell ground out. Bannon then doubled Molidor home with a gapper to right center. Stringham followed Bannon by hitting Merrell's first pitch through the left side to score the Gaucho shortstop, putting UCSB up 2-0.
The hosts didn't waste any time answering the Gaucho flurry, posting two runs of their own in the bottom half. The Titan runs came on a double, triple and sacrifice fly. Diving catches by centerfielder Jared Schumaker and right fielder Ryan Spilborghs helped limit the Fullerton scoring.
In both the third and fourth innings, UCSB put two men on with no outs and failed to score. Fullerton pulled ahead in the third, as leadoff man David Bacani tripled to right center with one out and scored on a wild pitch to make it 3-2. The Gaucho defense quieted a potential Titan rally in the fourth by turning a 6-4-3 double play to end the inning.
After having eight batters retired in order, Bob Brontsema's team put five straight men on base with two men out in the sixth. Stringham doubled to right center and advanced to third when Warrecker reached base on a high chopper to the third baseman. Ryan Spilborghs then rapped his second hit of the day, a run-scoring baseknock to left that tied the game at 3. Schumaker hit a ground ball that the first baseman misplayed, allowing Warrecker to score and Spilborghs to move to third. With Mike Kolbach at the plate, Schumaker stole second and Spilborghs stole home when the Fullerton catcher threw down to the shortstop covering at two, giving the Gauchos a two-run lead. Kolbach grounded a single up the middle to score Schumaker and put UCSB up 6-3.
Consecutive doubles and a sacrifice fly pulled Fullerton to within one at 6-5 after six complete innings. The Titans then went to reliever Wes Littleton, who pitched a perfect seventh. Jeremy Sugarman pitched the bottom half of the inning for UCSB. A failed pickoff throw by Warrecker after a leadoff double put a runner at third with no one out. A walk set up a 4-6-3 double play which allowed the tying run to score.
Fullerton closer Chad Cordero and Sugarman each threw near-perfect eighth and ninth stanzas.
Stringham led UCSB with three hits, while Kolbach, Bannon, Spilborghs and Warrecker added two apiece. All five men each tallied one RBI for the Gauchos. Sugarman gave up one unearned run on two hits in three innings of work to get the win. Starter Rylie Ogle went six innings, allowing five runs, all earned, on seven hits. Cordero took the loss for Fullerton. Spilborghs extended his school-record hitting streak to 28 games in the contest.
The teams will play the third and final game of the Big West series tomorrow, Sunday, May 13 at 1:00 p.m.