May 27, 2001
South Bend, Ind. - UC Santa Barbara used a ninth-inning home run by junior left fielder Jed Stringham and near-perfect relief by Jamie Gonzales to defeat Wisconsin-Milwaukee 13-12 Sunday afternoon in the first elimination game of the South Bend Regional at Notre Dame. The teams started the game, which was delayed twice due to rain, yesterday at 12:00 p.m. central time.
With the win, the Gauchos (40-16) advance to today's third game, another elimination contest, and will face the loser of the Notre Dame-Florida International game. The UCSB game will begin approximately 45 minutes after the conclusion of the winner's bracket contest. The Panthers (39-18) were eliminated with the loss.
After a 20-hour, 46-minute rain delay, play resumed at 10:35 a.m. central time Sunday in the first elimination game of the South Bend, Indiana Regional. With a Panther runner on first and the Gauchos leading 12-7 in the bottom of the fifth, UCSB hurler Jeremy Sugarman, who had started the inning yesterday, got the first batter to ground into a double play and the next to strike out.
The bottom of the sixth did not go as smoothly, and saw the Panthers pull within one run at 12-11. Three hits, a walk, a hit batter and a wild pitch led to four runs. Matt Moran threw a perfect seventh for UCSB, running his scoreless innings streak to 7.2 innings, before rain delayed the game for 38 minutes after just 49 minutes of play. After the Gauchos went hitless in the top of the eighth, Moran walked a Panther and gave up a single to right before getting the cleanup batter Eric Goerdt to line out. A sacrifice fly scored a run to tie the game at 12 with two down and a runner on second. At that point, the Gauchos went to closer Gonzales, who had not given up an earned run in his last 18 innings pitched. Gonzales hit the first batter he faced but got the next man to pop up to Jeff Bannon.
Then came the ninth. With two down, Stringham lined a ball down the right field line off Matt Freisleben, the submariner who entered Sunday afternoon in the top of the sixth. With the wind blowing heavily to right, the ball barely cleared the fence and just missed hitting the foul pole, for the junior's 14th home run of the season, second on the team and the fourth-highest single season total ever by a Gaucho. The homer gave UCSB a 13-12 lead going into the bottom half. Gonzales (3-1) made short work of the Panthers, striking out the first two batters before walking a man and getting the final out on a fly ball to center field to win his third straight decision and give eighth-year head coach Bob Brontsema his first 40-win season and UCSB its first 40-win campaign since 1986.
The left fielder's home run was just the second hit the Gauchos had collected off Freisleben (2-4) all day. The Panther closer entered the game in the sixth, the Gauchos' first at-bat Sunday. He held UCSB to one earned run on three hits in 3.2 innings of work and was charged with the loss. Right fielder Ryan Spilborghs added a single up the middle off Freisleben before the righthander was pulled, to extend his school record hitting streak to 35 games. It was the second straight game in which Spilborghs got a two-out hit in the ninth to keep the streak alive.
UCSB took advantage of a series of mistakes by Wisconsin-Milwaukee to hang a five-spot in the top of the first. The first six Gaucho batters reached base, beginning when leadoff man Jared Schumaker walked. He moved up when the second baseman dropped the toss from the shortstop on a Mike Kolbach ground ball. Chad Peshke then bunted a ball to the third base side of the mound, loading the bases on the single. Dave Molidor singled to right to move everyone up one bag and put the Gauchos on the scoreboard. Wisconsin-Milwaukee's second error came Tyler Von Schell hit a fly ball to left that bounced off the outfielder's outstretched glove, allowing two runs to score. That made it 3-0 with runners at second and third and none out. Bannon then hit a ball that dropped in for an RBI single as the right fielder faltered and couldn't make the catch coming in. The final run of the inning scored when Von Schell came home on Stringham's 6-3 double play ball.
Panther starter Mike Oiler left the game after walking Spilborghs and going 1-0 to Schumaker. Rob Erickson finished the inning. Spilborghs stole second on the first pitch, taking third on a bunt single to the second baseman. Schumaker then swiped second before Kolbach grounded back to the box. Peshke's bounding single to center scored both men. Joining the steal parade, Peshke promptly took second base. Molidor then lined a ball to right, his second hit of the day. Peshke scored on Von Schell's second sac fly of the afternoon, to give the Gauchos an 8-0 lead after one and half innings.
Gaucho starter Rylie Ogle did not look sharp early either, giving up eight hits over the first three innings. He got by in the first inning by picking off the leadoff batter, who had singled, and sandwiching a second Panther single with two strikeouts. However, a double, two singles, a triple and a third single made it 8-4 in the second. After hitting a batter and giving up a single to start the third, the lefty came back to get a strikeout, fly ball and pop-up.
UW-M brought in Aaron Bushong to pitch in the third, and the Gauchos wasted no time in getting to him, using more Panther errors to increase their lead. Stringham led off the inning by reaching on a fielding error by the second baseman. He scored on Warrecker's double to the gap in right center while the UCSB catcher advanced to third when the second baseman's relay throw hit Stringham in the thigh and bounced away. Warrecker scored on a Spilborghs sac fly, which the center fielder dropped, enabling Spilborghs to reach second. Schumaker's second single of the day put runners at the corners with none out. Two batters later and with Schumaker at second following another stolen base, Peshke rapped his third hit of the day, a two-run knock to left which put the Gauchos up 12-4.
Wisconsin-Milwaukee used a leadoff triple, single and two-run homer to pull within five at 12-7 after four complete innings. Ogle ended the inning by fanning catcher John VandenBerg, who had collected two hits on the day. The strikeout was Ogle's fifth of the game. The fourth inning was his last. He gave up seven runs, all earned, on 11 hits in the no-decision. Sugarman started the fifth and gave up a single to the first batter before the game was suspended at 1:49 p.m.