May 29, 2005
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. -
Fittingly, UC Santa Barbara's final baseball game of the 2005 season ended on a ground ball to shortstop Chris Malec. The senior made the play and threw out Cal State Northridge's Drew Aquailar to end the game, a come-from-behind 11-10 Gaucho win.
The game couldn't have gotten any closer, as it came down to a bang-bang play on the bases, but UCSB (26-30, 8-13 BWC) held off Cal State Northridge (18-36-1, 2-19 BWC) on Sunday afternoon at Matador Field to complete a sweep of the season-ending three-game series.
Malec went 2-for-5 in the game, including a team-leading 13th double, was playing in his last game as a Gaucho. He played in 11 of the team's final 12 contests despite having surgery for testicular cancer, and undergoing two chemotherapy sessions. Not coincidentally, after opening Big West play at 1-8 without Malec, UCSB went 7-5 the remainder of the way.
UCSB scored four runs in the eighth inning to tie the game at 10-10
before scoring the eventual winning run in the top of the ninth inning. Matt Kalafatis doubled to drive in a pair of runs, including C.J. Cook from first base who barely beat the relay throw, to cut the Northridge lead to two runs. After the next two batters walked to load the bases, David Figoni sent a hard-hit ball up the middle off Matt Gaylord to bring in the tying scores. In the ninth, Jack Pinkerton slammed a one-out double to center field and came home as Kalafatis again came through, this time with a line drive that just eluded a diving Aguailar at first base for the winning single.
The two teams traded early runs with Northridge scoring three times in
the third to take its first lead of the series. Michael Paulk and
Alberto Quintana doubled to drive in runs to even the score and
Aguailar followed with an RBI single. The Gauchos responded with three
runs in the top of the fourth, reclaiming the lead at 6-4. Matt
Wilkerson doubled in a run, Bill Rowe grounded out to drive in another
run and Wilkerson succesfully stole home on a double-steal.
There was no scoring for the next three innings until CSUN exploded for a big seventh inning. The Gauchos went to the bullpen, which proved to be disasterous as the first four hitters all hit the ball hard for base hits. Paulk drove in a run with a single and Quintana plated two more with a double. After Jeff Tezak skied a pop-up, the rally continued with singles from Aguailar, Johnny Coit and Raymond Ravago to put CSUN ahead 10-6.
Brian Tracy pitched 1.2 inning to earn the win for UCSB. He enduced a
line-out double play to end the long seventh and then struck out two
hitters in the eighth. Alex McRobbie picked up his school-record 14th save with a 1-2-3 ninth Gaylord fell to 2-2 with the loss, allowing just the go-ahead run off three hits in 1.2 innings.
Figoni had a game-best 4-for-6 afternoon, adding two runs and two RBI.
Kalafatis was 3-for-5 with three RBI for the Gauchos. All nine UCSB
starters had a hit as Santa Barbara outhit CSUN 18-13. In addition to Figoni, Wilkerson, McRobbie, Kalafatis, and Malec, it was the final game for Matt Stevens and Loren Fraser. Stevens is a graduate student at UCSB, and the remainder are seniors. Wilkerson, who set the school's career home run record on Saturday with his 42nd, had a pair of hits, two RBI, and a two run scored in his final game as a Gaucho. In all, seniors produced 11 of UCSB's 18 hits in the season finale.
This was the final game for both teams in the 2005 season.