Pacific's Walk-Off Homer Downs Gauchos 5-4
May 15, 2004
STOCKTON, Calif. - Tied at 4-4 with one out in the bottom of the ninth, Pacific senior Aaron Harper hammered the second pitch he saw over the left center field wall for a walk off home run as the University of Pacific beat the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos 5-4, for the second time in as many days. With the win, Pacific moved to 20-29 overall and 5-12 in the Big West. UC Santa Barbara dropped to 31-19 overall and 8-9 in Big West play.
Coming off the heels of a dramatic 4-3 Pacific win in 10 innings on Friday, the Tigers and Gauchos put on another display of college baseball at it finest as the two teams battled back and forth all afternoon.
Pacific responded in the bottom of the inning on a one-out double to left field by junior Nicholas Sekiya and a two-out RBI single up the middle by senior Evan Bishop.
The Tigers took their first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth as juniors Jordan Seiber (Seatac, Wash.) and Jesse Kovacs singled to put runners at the corners with nobody out. After a walk to freshman Mark McLaughlin loaded the bases, senior Adam Ringer plated Seiber with a sacrifice fly to right. Kovacs moved to third on Ringer's fly ball, then scored on a safety squeeze by senior Octavio Amezquita to give Pacific a 3-1 edge.
The Gauchos, however, responded in their next at-bat as UCSB tied the game on an RBI double from Taylor Vogt and an RBI single from Matt Wilkerson. Tied at 3-3, UCSB had runners at the corners with just one out, but Pacific freshman Todd Merz came on from the bullpen to strike out UCSB's Billy Rowe. With two men out, Pacific went to the bullpen again for junior Erik Barbic. Barbic induced an inning ending ground out to keep the game tied at 3-3.
The game stayed tied until the bottom of the seventh, when the Tigers took a 4-3 lead on a one-out triple by Bishop and an RBI double from Seiber.
With one out and a Gaucho on first in the top of the eighth, Pacific brought in junior closer Josh Schmidt to slam the door. Schmidt did just that in the eighth, but allowed UCSB to tie the game in the ninth on a leadoff single by Sutton and an RBI-double from Wilkerson. Despite surrendering the game tying run, Schmidt worked his way out of a bases loaded jam in the ninth to set the stage for Harper.
In the bottom of the ninth for Pacific, Bishop led off with a routine fly ball to center field off of UCSB left-hander Ivan Ramirez. That brought Harper to the plate. Ramirez started Harper off with a slow curve that broke past his right shoulder for strike one. Ramirez came with the fastball on the next pitch and Harper tattooed it off the scoreboard over the left-center field wall. It was Harper's team-leading eighth home run of the season and his first walk-off home run as a Tiger.
Schmidt (5-3) picked up the win for Pacific as he allowed one run on two hits in 1.2 innings, while Ramirez (1-2) took the loss, allowing one run on two hits in two innings.
The Tigers and Gauchos will conclude their three game series on Sunday, May 16th at 11 a.m. in Billy Hebert Field.