May 27, 2001
South Bend, Ind. - UC Santa Barbara didn't have quite enough to eliminate host Notre Dame from the NCAA Regionals, losing 11-10 in ten innings in the final game for its ten seniors.
The Gauchos (40-17), who knocked off Wisconsin-Milwaukee in an elimination game earlier in the day, ended their season with the school's best showing at Regionals since 1986. The Irish (48-12-1) will advance to tomorrow's championship game with Florida International.
Six ties, 38 hits and nine pitchers told the story of the back-and-forth contest.
Jared Schumaker's 100th hit of the season, which tied a school record, was a double down the right field line to lead off the eighth inning that knocked Viloria out of the game. Lefty Mike Naumann entered to face Mike Kolbach, but instead Blair Havens pinch hit to bunt Schumaker over. Notre Dame called on righthander Mike Laird to face the upcoming Gaucho righthanded bats. Chad Peshke laced a line drive into left almost immediately, tying the game at 9-9. Peshke was awarded second base when a balk was called on the first pitch to Dave Molidor. The Gaucho third baseman struck out on a checked swing to make it two down. Tyler Von Schell then delivered with his second straight RBI single, a blooper into shallow center, after going 0-for-3 and grounding into two double plays, giving the Gauchos a 10-9 advantage going into the ninth.
In the top of the ninth, a leadoff walk to Paul O'Toole and a two-out walk to Joe Thaman put Irish runners on first and second with two outs. On a 2-1 count, Stanley drilled a Gonzales pitch to center to score the tying run. The run ended Jamie Gonzales' streaks of scoreless innings at 17.1 and innings without allowing an earned run at 21.1. James Garcia, who started and got the loss against Florida International on Friday, struck out Steve Sollman on a slider to end the inning. After Laird retired UCSB in order in the ninth, Brian Stavisky put Notre Dame up 11-10 with a long home run to right, his second of the night.
Schumaker walked to lead off the tenth. Havens couldn't get a bunt down, and popped out to the catcher on a full swing. With Peshke at the dish, Schumaker took off early for second. Laird's throw to second was wide left, and barely hauled in by the Notre Dame shortstop. Peshke followed by hitting a deep fly ball to center, on which Schumaker moved to third. The game ended when Molidor grounded out to third.
The Irish, the visiting team in the elimination game, jumped out to a 2-0 lead when the lefthanded Stavisky homered to left center and scored Steve Stanley, who led off the game with a sharp single to left center. UCSB starter Matt Vasquez got out of the second without giving up a run when he popped up Stanley on a 3-0 count with a runner on third.
The Gauchos answered the Regional hosts' two-spot by putting up three runs of their own in the bottom half of the inning. Schumaker led off with a double to right, his 18th of the season. Kolbach then doubled to left, scoring the Gaucho center fielder. Peshke's subsequent single to right scored Kolbach. Molidor then singled to left, but was erased when Von Schell grounded into a 6-4-3 double play. Jeff Bannon made it 3-2 UCSB with a hard-hit liner to left center.
Kolbach knocked his second run-scoring hit of the day when he blooped a single into left to score Donovan Warrecker and give UCSB a 4-2 lead. The receiver led off the Gaucho second with a double to right and advanced to third on a Ryan Spilborghs sacrifice bunt.
With one out in the top of the third, ND catcher Paul O'Toole singled to right, the fourth consecutive hit off Vasquez in the inning. Right fielder Spilborghs threw a strike to home, but the ball got by Warrecker, enabling the tying run to score.
The Irish added three runs in the fourth to take a 7-4 lead. A double to the left center field gap by Stavisky on a 3-0 pitch, his third hit of the day, scored two men. A single beneath the glove of a diving Bannon scored Stavisky. That was the last batter Vasquez would face, as the Gauchos brought in Jim Bullard with two away and a man on first. The big lefty got out of the inning by inducing a chopper to Peshke.
The Gauchos answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the fourth. After earlier singles by Warrecker and Schumaker, a walk to Kolbach loaded the bases with two outs. All three men moved up one bag on a passed ball, but Peshke flew out to center to end the inning with UCSB down 7-5.
Bullard held the Irish scoreless in the fifth before the Gauchos rallied. An RBI-groundout by Jed Stringham scored Molidor, who had walked. A run-scoring double by Warrecker, his third hit of the game, got Bannon home. The UCSB shortstop had also doubled. Brandon Viloria finished the inning on the mound for Notre Dame and stayed in the game. Bullard came back in the sixth by getting Notre Dame 1-2-3, the first such at-bat by a team on the day.
Kolbach led off the sixth with his third hit of the day, but was thrown out trying to steal second with one out. Molidor then lined a double down the right field line, his third baseknock of the night, and scored on a Von Schell single to left.
Designated hitter Kris Billmaier doubled to start the seventh, his fourth hit of the night. The next batter hit a hard liner to center. Schumaker ran it down and threw to Peshke who tossed to Bannon to get the hitter trying to stretch the single into a double, while Billmaier held up at third on the play. Andrew Bushey then hit a ball that squeezed by a drawn-in Peshke to score Billmaier and tie the game at 8-apiece. Bullard struck out the next batter, a lefty, looking for the second out of the inning. Bushey scooted over to third on a Warrecker passed ball. With runners at the corners, Stanley blooped a single over Bannon's head to give the Irish a 9-8 lead and chase Bullard from the game. Closer Jamie Gonzales, who got the win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee earlier in the day, came in and struck out Steve Sollman to end the inning.
After the Gauchos went down in order in the seventh, Gonzales' defense helped him out of trouble. After the leadoff man ripped a single into right, Bannon made a leaping stab of a Stavisky line drive and doubled up the runner at first. Stavisky was 3-for-4 with four RBI. Gonzales struck out the next batter to end the inning.
Garcia (10-4) was charged with the loss and Laird (5-1) picked up the win. Schumaker, Kolbach, Molidor and Warrecker each had three hits for UCSB. Peshke, Von Schell and Bannon added two hits apiece.
The 40-win season was eighth-year head coach Bob Brontsema's first, and the first by a Gaucho team since 1986. UCSB's win over UW-M earlier in the day was the school's first in NCAA Regional play since 1986, breaking a streak of nine consecutive losses.