May 18, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara's senior baseball class will leave Caesar Uyesaka Stadium with fond memories, as the Gauchos wrapped up their home schedule with an impressive 14-8 come-from-behind win over UC Riverside Sunday afternoon. After finding themselves down 8-2 in the third inning, UCSB roared back with 12 runs over the final six frames to complete the three-game sweep over the Highlanders. Several seniors played huge roles in the dramatic win, capping an amazing 23-6 home record for the Gauchos this season.
UCSB (34-19, 13-8) holds sole possession of third place in the Big West Conference with Sunday's win, while UC Riverside (19-31, 12-9) drops into a fourth place tie with No. 9 UC Irvine.
On a day that bid farewell to seven departing seniors, many of them left it all out on the field. Michael Martin (5-3), pitching in his sixth year at UCSB, came on in relief of starter Chuck Huggins, and pitched six scoreless innings for the win. Seniors Chris Fox, Mike Zuanich, Patrick Rose, and Matt McColgan combined to go 10-for-18 with nine runs scored, six RBI, and two stolen bases in Sunday's series finale. Zuanich capped a tremendous three-game series with a 3-for-4, four-run, two-RBI performance, while Rose's 3-for-5, two-run, two-RBI effort capped a 9-for-14 weekend at the plate for the third baseman.
Huggins, the Gauchos winningest pitcher over the last two years, allowed eight runs (seven earned) in only 2.1 innings pitched, but his Gaucho teammates were quick to pickup the senior southpaw, in the same fashion that Huggins has all year long.
UCSB followed their season-long formula for success, scoring twice in the bottom of the first inning. With Brian Gump on second base, Zuanich lined an RBI single through the left side of the infield, plating the first run of the game. Then, with runners on first and second, Shane Carlson shot a ball into left center field for the second Gaucho run of the game. The two-run bottom of the first pushed UCSB's total to 52 first inning runs through 53 games played.
Riverside's bats awoke in the top of the third, as the Highlanders broke the game wide open, scoring eight times on four hits. A three-run triple off the bat of Ryan Goetz and a two-run home run one at-bat later from Jordan Opdyke, highlighted the eight-run third for Riverside. That's when Martin entered and promptly retired two Highlanders to get out of the inning.
It was only a matter of time until UCSB's offense got going, as the Gauchos quickly cut into the six-run deficit, scoring three times in the bottom of the third inning. A two-run single from Eric Oliver, followed by a run-scoring triple into the left center field gap from Zuanich, cut the Highlander lead to three, 8-5.
As one senior gave the ball to the other, Martin picked up his fellow staff mate, as the right-hander allowed only six hits in his six innings of work. Martin's win on Sunday gave the Red Bluff, Calif., native 23-career wins at UCSB.
A five-run outburst in the bottom of the fifth inning put the Gauchos back in front, 10-8. Carlson kept his hot-streak alive, smashing a two-run bomb into the netting above the scoreboard in left field. Carlson's two-run shot brought the Gauchos within one, 8-7. With Carlson standing on second, second baseman Gunnar Terhune ripped a ball down the left field line, the ball hit the line in fair territory as chalk scattered into the air. Terhune's RBI double chased Highlander starter Paul Bargas from the game, leaving with the game tied, 8-8. McColgan broke the tie in the very next at-bat, fisting a ball into shallow left. McColgan's RBI single scored Terhune from second, regaining the Gaucho lead, 9-8. UCSB's two-out rally wasn't over yet, as designated hitter Robbie Cummings exploited the right field line, dumping a ball two inches from the foul line. Cumming's RBI single put the Gauchos ahead two, 10-8.
UCSB continued the assault, plating three runs in the bottom of the sixth. Rose added to his unbelieveable weekend, and spectacular senior day, with an RBI triple down the right field line. Rose's ninth hit of the weekend, and fourth extra-base hit, gave UCSB a three-run lead. Terhune and McColgan did exactly what they did an inning before, driving in single runs on base hits. Eight combined runs in the fifth and sixth inning's, put the Gauchos ahead, 13-8.
Zuanich scored from third on a wild pitch in the bottom of the eight for the final Gaucho run of the game. Zuanich's fourth run scored on the day, was also his 10th of the series.
Junior reliever Jason Roenicke came on in the ninth and retired two Highlanders to ice the successful senior day send-off.
UCSB improved to 19-5 when scoring in the first inning, 31-12 in day games, 30-4 when out-hitting the opponent, and 31-3 when leading after six innings with Sunday's rout.
With three-games remaining in the regular season, UCSB travels to Irvine, to face the No. 9 Anteaters next weekend. With Cal State Fullerton in first, and Long Beach State in second, UCSB controls their own fate entering the ever