February 16, 2006

Late Inning Heroics Propel Gauchos Past UBC, 4-3

Feb. 16, 2006

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - UCSB (2-3) used homeruns off the bats of Matt Anderson and Matt Clark in the eighth and ninth innings to earn a 4-3 victory over UBC (3-5) in an exhibition game on Thursday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.

Although the stats do not officially count for the Gauchos, freshman Clayton Edwards earned the win in the game. The right-hander threw one and a thirds innings of shutout ball, surrendering only one walk.

Clark was the only Gaucho to collect multiple hits in the game, batting three-for-four, including a home run, a run scored and an RBI. The Rancho Cucamonga, Calif. native was the only Gaucho to tally a hit in the first seven innings on Thursday.

The first four innings of the game resulted in no runs for either squad. UBC and UCSB combined for four hits in the first four innings, but the Thunderbirds got on the board in the fifth. Junior Bryan Fleming replaced junior Brian Tracy to start the inning. The first batter he faced, Tyler Willson, dropped a drag bunt down the third base line for a single to start the ball rolling for UBC. After a stolen base and a ground ball moved him to third, Willson scored on a ground out to Clark at third.

UBC was back at it again in the seventh inning, this time posting one run on two hits. After a leadoff groundout to shortstop Chris Valaika, Capone singled up the middle before a hits batsman put runners on first and second. Fleming got Johnny Yiu to strike out for the second out, but Steve Bell-Irving cashed in on the RBI situation with a base hit to right field.

The Thunderbirds would tack on one more run in the eighth before the Gauchos managed to plate a run of their own. After two quick outs to start the inning, Jon Syrnyk and Brett Murray walked to put runners on first and second for UBC. Capone, who would end the game batting four-for-five, once again came up clutch for the Thunderbirds, this time smacking a base hit into right field to earn his only RBI of the day.

The Gaucho bats woke up in the eighth. After junior Robbie Blauer grounded out to start the inning, Valaika singled back up the box to jumpstart the UCSB offense. It did not take long for UCSB to earn its two runs in the inning. On the very next play, Anderson homered to cut the UBC lead to 3-2.

UCSB plated two more runs in the bottom of the ninth to steal a 4-3 victory over the Thunderbirds. Joey Benda came in to shut the door on the Gauchos, but was instead greeted by a Clark homerun into the trees in right field. With the game knotted at three, UCSB pinch hit with Alden Carrithers. The Portland, Ore. native answered the call and singled into right field to put the go ahead run on base. After a passed ball moved Carrithers to second, Matt Emerick walked to put runners at first and second. Senior A.J. Knox then laid down a sacrifice bunt, but reached on the play when Murray's throw pulled Yiu off the bag at first. With the bases loaded, freshman Shane Carlson lofted a deep fly ball into left field that scored a head-first sliding Carrithers and gave UCSB the victory.

UCSB will be back in action on Tuesday as they play host to Westmont at 2 p.m. The Gauchos defeated the Warriors 16-1 to open the 2006 season on February 7.

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