May 23, 2004
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. - Shortstop Chris Valaika broke the UC Santa Barbara freshman hits record on Sunday but the Gauchos still failed to hold two different leads as they fell to Cal Poly 11-8 in both team's season finale at Baggett Stadium. UCSB finishes its 2004 campaign with its best record in three years at 33-21 and 10-11 in the Big West.
Santa Barbara finishes in a three-way tie for fourth place in the highly competitive Big West Conference. UC Irvine and Cal Poly both also finished with the same conference mark.
The Gauchos blasted three home runs in Sunday's defeat but the Mustangs scored in every inning but the first, second and seventh en route to their second series victory over UCSB this season.
After a Matt Emerick RBI single in the second, catcher Matt Kalafatis' two-run homer in the second staked the Gauchos to a 3-0 lead. But Cal Poly scored twice in the third, twice in the fourth and three times in both the fifth and sixth innings to capture a 10-5 lead heading into the game's final three frames. Solo home runs from Matt Wilkerson and Taylor Vogt in the fourth and fifth innings, respectively, accounted for UCSB's fourth and fifth runs. Wilkerson and Vogt finish the season tied for the team lead with nine home runs.
The Gauchos pieced together two hits and used an error and a couple of walks to plate three runs in the eighth but it was not enough.
Emerick finished 3-for-5 with two runs scored and two RBI. The performance came on the heels of his four-hit outburst on Saturday. Kalafatis went 2-for-4 and finished with three RBI.
Right-hander Steve Morlock (7-5) had his ten game unbeaten streak snapped as he suffered his first defeat since March 12, ironically also against Cal Poly. The sophomore went 4.2 innings, allowing six runs on five hits. He walked four and struck out two. Ivan Ramirez gave up three more runs in an inning of relief and Nate Holguin and Alex McRobbie combined to pitch the final 2.1 innings. Tony Saipe (3-2) picked up the win after tossing 3.2 innings for the Mustangs in relief.
Valaika, with his single to left in the third inning, passed teammate Chris Malec's mark of 75 hits as a freshman in 2002. Valaika finishes with 76 and now holds the record for most hits by a Gaucho freshman.
A complete review of the Gauchos' 2004 season will be available on ucsbgauchos.com later this week.