May 25, 2007
Santa Barbara, Calif. - UC Santa Barbara roared back with four runs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but came up short and fell, 12-11, in dramatic fashion to Cal Poly Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The Gauchos dropped to 23-29 on the season and 9-10 in the Big West Conference, while the Mustangs improved to 30-24 overall and 11-8 in league play.
UCSB found itself down 12-7 heading into the bottom of the ninth. The rally started with a walk and a single before Shane Carlson laced a single through the right side to score Matt Anderson from second. Carlson and Mario Lewis moved up to second and third, respectively, as Cal Poly's centerfielder bobbled the ball on the play. Chris Fox drove a single into the right field gap, scoring Lewis and getting the Gauchos within three at 12-9. A wild pitch allowed Carlson to score and the hit parade continued as Patrick Rose singled through the left side of the infield, moving Fox to third. With one out, Robbie Blauer flied out to center, but it was deep enough for Fox to tag and score. With a runner on base, Mike Zuanich came to the plate representing the game-winning run. On a 1-1 pitch from Mustang closer Evan Reed, Zuanich sent the ball high and deep to left, but Adam Melker corralled it on the warning track in foul territory to end the game.
It was the third straight loss for UCSB, which dipped below the .500 mark in the Big West for the first time since April 7 when it was 1-2. Cal Poly reached 30 wins for the sixth time in the last eight seasons.
Freshman starter Mike Ford's bad luck continued as he provided Santa Barbara with yet another quality start, but found himself walking off the mound down 7-0. Ford went 5.2 innings, giving up six hits and seven runs, only one of which was earned. He struck out four, but dropped to 2-2 on the year with the loss.
Blauer continued his remarkable season, extending his hitting streak to 20 straight games. Rose went 2-for-5 with three RBI and Carlson had a spectacular day at the plate, going 4-for-5 and upping his average 16 points to .283. Five Gauchos had multiple hits as UCSB held a 14-12 advantage in the hit column.
Logan Schafer sparked the Cal Poly offense, going 3-for-5 with four RBI. He hit one of three Mustang home runs, a solo shot in the fourth inning to kick off the game's scoring. Brent Morel also had a day at the plate, going 3-for-5 with a pair of doubles. He scored twice and drove in a run. Bryan Kepner crossed the plate three times and homered.
Starter Eric Massingham improved to 3-1 with the win. He threw 6.0 innings and surrendered two runs (none earned) on six hits while striking out five.
Errors were a big story in the game as both sides committed two, leading to a total of eight unearned runs (six for Santa Barbara and two for Cal Poly). The Gauchos stranded 11 runners on base while the Mustangs left four.
Cal Poly took an 8-0 lead with one run in the fourth, two in the fifth, and five more in the sixth. After UCSB got on the board with two runs in the sixth, the Mustangs put up another three in the seventh, making the score 11-2.
In the bottom of the eighth, the Gauchos' chances looked bleak, but a five-run outburst moved them within striking distance. A double to right center by Rose knocked in three of the five runs, bringing the Gauchos within four at 11-7.
Following a walk to Kepner in the top of the ninth, Morel smacked an RBI double to left center, putting the Mustangs up 12-7.
UCSB will try to bounce back Saturday as it resumes play against Cal Poly in game two of the three-game set at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium (1 p.m.).