May 13, 2007
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - For the second day in a row, UC Santa Barbara suffered a gut wrenching loss to No. 16 Long Beach State, falling 12-4 Sunday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos, who took a 3-1 lead into the eighth inning, surrendered eight runs in the 11th as the league-leading Dirtbags broke a 4-4 tie and completed the three-game sweep.
With the loss, UCSB fell to 21-25 overall and 9-9 in the Big West Conference, while first-place Long Beach State improved to 34-14 and 13-2 after winning for the 12th consecutive game on Sunday.
A day after Santa Barbara saw the Dirtbags score six runs in the ninth inning to erase a four-run deficit and claim a 10-8 victory, Long Beach State's offense erupted again late in the game scoring eight runs courtesy of a Gaucho error and three home runs.
Starting pitcher Jeff Braun pitched well for the Gauchos, going 6.2 innings and allowing only one earned run. The senior left-hander struck out four and walked one, but once again LBSU was able to get to the Santa Barbara bullpen. Senior Justin Segal came on in relief of Braun in the sixth inning with two runners on and quickly extinguished the threat, but unfortunately Segal's luck would run out in the eighth. Dirtbag left fielder Jason Corder hit a two-out three-run home run to tie the game at 4-4.
Neither team was able to plate a run in the ninth as the game moved to extra innings.
In the eleventh, it all fell apart for UCSB. What should have been an inning-ending double play turned into the go-ahead run for the Dirtbags as right fielder Robert Perry scored from second on a botched exchange by Gaucho second baseman Patrick Rose. The error left runners on second and third and Segal would walk the next batter to load the bases. Center fielder Chris Nelson followed with a towering grand slam home run over the left field fence to put the game out of reach at 9-4. Although the damage had been done, Long Beach State was not, adding the finishing touches to their series sweep.
After junior lefty Kyle Brown came on in relief of Segal, starting pitcher/designated hitter Shane Peterson promptly added a solo shot of his own and Perry hit a two-run homer in his second at-bat of the inning to stretch the Dirtbag lead to the final 12-4 count. All in all, the eleventh inning meltdown saw eight runs on four hits (three of which were homers), and one error.
UCSB had taken an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning when center fielder Chris Fox singled up the middle, scoring left fielder Mike Zuanich from second. The Gauchos scored two more in the sixth on a Matt Anderson double to the gap in right center and added their fourth run of the game when Rose doubled to the same spot an inning later.
On the bright side of the crushing defeat, Fox extended his hitting streak to an impressive 18 games, while first baseman Robbie Blauer's streak reached 14 and Rose recorded a hit for the 13th consecutive game.
Peterson lasted 5.2 innings for the Dirtbags, allowing three runs on four hits, while fanning three and walking two. Omar Arif came on relief and allowed a run on two hits in an inning of work. LBSU used a total of seven pitchers Sunday, with Bryan Shaw tossing a scoreless final three innings to capture the win. He is now 6-2 on the season.
Segal was saddled with the loss for Santa Barbara after allowing eight runs - six earned - on five hits in four innings of work. He is now 2-4 in 2007.
The Gauchos will look to get back on track Wednesday, May 16 when they travel to Los Angeles to face USC in a single non-conference game starting at 6:00 p.m. UCSB will then head north for a three-game set with future Big West member UC Davis starting Friday, May 18 at 2:00 p.m.