May 13, 2001
UC Santa Barbara, ranked 23rd nationally by Collegiate Baseball, couldn't complete a road sweep of top-ranked Cal State Fullerton, losing 6-4 at Goodwin Field Sunday afternoon.
The Gaucho offense, one of the country's best, didn't get going until the ninth inning against the Titans' tough righthander and Player of the Year candidate, Kirk Saarloos. UCSB (37-13, 11-4), tied with Fullerton (39-14, 12-3) for first place in the Big West Conference before today, was looking to become the first team since Long Beach State in 1993 to sweep Cal State Fullerton in its own park.
A Gaucho rally in the last inning made it an exciting game. Mike Kolbach led off with a bouncer up the middle, and Chad Peshke followed with a liner to center. After Dave Molidor struck out swinging, Tyler Von Schell doubled off the center field wall to score Kolbach and put the Gauchos on the board. Jeff Bannon then hit a high fly ball over the left field wall for a three-run homer, his sixth long ball of the season, knocking Saarloos out of the game. Fullerton turned to Mike Nunez, who walked Jed Stringham to bring up Donovan Warrecker. The catcher, who had entered the game in the eighth inning as a defensive replacement, popped up to the shortstop. Ryan Spilborghs, who had been 0-for-3 on the day, singled through the right side to extend his school record hitting streak to 29 games. Jared Schumaker then reached on a single to the shortstop, his third baseknock of the day, who made a diving stop to keep a run from scoring and load the bases. That brought Kolbach to the plate for a second time. The Anaheim native lined a 2-2 pitch right to center fielder Chris Stringfellow to end the game.
Both teams had trouble hitting early on, as UCSB starter Jim Bullard and Saarloos each kept opposing hitters off balance. The Gauchos managed just two hits and did not advance a man past first base in the first five innings. The Titans chalked up five hits in that span, but the only real damage came when Mike Rouse tagged Bullard for a home run to right center with a man aboard in the second.
Schumaker led off the UCSB sixth with a single and stole second with one out. He advanced to third on a pass ball with two outs, only to be left stranded. In the bottom half ot the inning, Fullerton used two singles and a walk to load the bases with one out, before a fly ball to right got a run home. Bullard walked the next batter to load the bases a second time before giving up a three-run double to Mike Martinez, making the score 6-0.
Bullard (7-4) took the loss for UCSB, allowing six earned runs on eight hits in 5.2 innings. He fanned four Titans and walked three. Matt Moran threw 2.1 innings of hitless relief, striking out three. Saarloos got the win and improved to 13-2 on the year. Cordero earned his 12th save of the year. The Gauchos outhit the Titans 9-8, with Schumaker leading the way, going 3-for-5.
UCSB will host UCLA Tuesday, May 15 at 2:00 p.m. The Gauchos will conclude regular season play next weekend when they host Cal Poly in the teams' final Big West series of 2001.