Gauchos Finish On Top, 11-9

May 5, 2007

Box Score

Fullerton, Calif. - Chris Fox drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth inning to break an 8-8 tie as UC Santa Barbara held on to win 11-9 over Cal State Fullerton in a Big West Conference baseball game at Goodwin Field Saturday night.

The win improved the Gauchos' record to 20-22 overall and 8-6 in league play. The Titans fall to 28-17, 8-6, on the year, having dropped five of their last six games.

A three-run Gaucho ninth off the losing pitcher Bryan Harris (1-2) proved enough as Fullerton's late-inning rally fell short to even the series at one win apiece. After Fox's walk that scored the go-ahead run, the Titans went to the bullpen and brought on Nolan Bruyninckx to stop the bleeding. But the first batter he faced, Patrick Rose, belted a double that tailed away from right fielder Nick Mahin, bringing home a pair of insurance runs the Gauchos would be glad they got.

Fullerton threatened in their half of the ninth scoring a run off winner Justin Segal, but left the bases loaded as Clark Hardman popped a Steve Morlock offering up to end the ballgame. Segal earned the win and improved to 2-3, while Morlock notched his second save of the season.

The game finished differently than it began as Cal State Fullerton rallied for four runs in the first off starter Mike Ford. The first three hitters, Clark Hardman, Josh Fellhauer and Nick Mahin, all singled off Ford, with Mahin's knock driving home Hardman with the first run of the game. Curtis picked up an RBI with a smash to first, but was retired on the play. Khris Davis was then plunked by Ford with the bases full to run the score to 3-0. A batter later, Corey Jones followed with a sac-fly that brought home Evan McArthur with the final run of the frame.

In the top of the second, Santa Barbara battled back nabbing two runs off Fullerton hurler Jeff Kaplan, courtesy of a Matt Valaika home run to left-center field. It was Valaika's fourth home run of the season and it was the sixth that Kaplan had surrendered.

Ford settled down over his next four innings of work holding the Titans to a pair of hits by Hardman. The righty retired eight in a row and 12 of 13 men he faced and was the beneficiary of an five-run fifth inning by the Gaucho offense.

Kaplan allowed the first five men he faced in the sixth aboard, with the final blow being a two-run double by Chris McMurray down the right field line. Justin Klipp came on in relief, but an error by shortstop Joe Scott and a single by Shane Carlson allowed two more runs to score, giving UCSB a 7-4 lead.

The Titans took one more shot at Ford in the sixth, plating three runs capped by a single by Josh Fellhauer that drove home two to tie the game at 7-7. Davis doubled and Corey Jones also singled in the inning.

The Gauchos traded runs between the sixth and eight innings with UCSB's Mike Zuanich's fourth home run of the year giving the Gauchos a brief 8-7 lead. Fellhauer's third RBI of the game knotted the game at 8-8 in the eighth, setting up the wild ninth that saw the Titans drop their sixth conference game of the season.

Rose and Cody Dee each had three hits to lead UCSB, while Valaika's thre RBI paced the visiting squad. Hardman and Fellhauer also had three hits each for Fullerton with Fellhauer driving in a game-high three RBI.

The rubber-game of the three game series will take place at 1:00 p.m. at Goodwin Field. Adam Jorgenson (3-0, 3.48 ERA) will throw for Fullerton, while Jeff Braun (2-6, 6.14 ERA) will be going for Santa Barbara.