Matt Wilkerson gave the UCSB baseball team its own personal human highlight reel on Tuesday afternoon.
Unfortunately, Wilkerson’s feats were not enough to keep UCLA from mauling the Gauchos baseball team 12-7 at Los Angeles.
Wilkerson, UCSB’s freshman designated hitter, smacked three single-run homers. Junior right fielder Ryan Spilborghs also had three hits, continuing the offensive surge that Santa Barbara built during last weekend’s UNLV Tournament. In the tourney, the Gauchos scored 40 runs while winning two out of three games.
Sadly, the Gauchos vaunted pitching staff was not able to hold up at Jackie Robinson Stadium. Freshman starter Eric Posthumus (1-1) took his first loss at UCSB, giving up seven runs on nine hits in just five innings.
The Gauchos took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second on Wilkerson’s first long ball, but UCLA responded with five runs in the bottom of the inning, keyed by a two-run homer by left fielder Adam Berry.
UCSB was able to chip into that lead with single runs in the third and fourth innings, the latter coming on Wilkerson’s second bomb. However, Posthumus gave up another home run to Berry in the fifth to stretch the deficit to 7-3.
Santa Barbara’s bullpen was not able to stop the bleeding in the sixth. Senior Jeremy Sugarman was only able to retire one batter while surrendering four runs, which staked the Bruins to an 11-3 lead.
The typically resilient Gauchos did not lie down, mounting a rally in the top of the seventh. Spilborghs, who went 3-for-5, slugged a two-run triple and scored on a subsequent throwing error. Wilkerson followed one out later with his third dinger of the day, cutting the lead to 11-7. Regrettably, the comeback ground to a halt there, as Wes Whisler pitched two scoreless innings to help the Bruins close out the game.
Wilkerson, who now leads the Gauchos with seven home runs, showed versatility with his power as he hit the ball out to left-center, center and right-center in going 3-for-4. However, it was not enough keep the team’s record from dropping to 9-7 on the season.