In the midst of an eight-game losing skid, no lead feels safe.
The UCSB baseball team learned this the hard way.
Desperately needing a win, the Gauchos could not cling to a 10-0 lead to USC at Dedeaux Field, eventually losing a 13-12 shocker to the Trojans in 10 innings.
“It was definitely one of the most disappointing games I’ve ever been a part of,” UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema said.
Despite another strong start from UCSB senior left-hander Sean Thompson, the Trojan offense clobbered four Gaucho relievers for 12 of their 13 runs. Five members of USC’s bullpen held UCSB (18-22, 1-8 in the Big West) to two runs.
Sophomore second baseman Chris Malec blasted a two-out, two-run single up the middle against USC junior starter Fraser Dizard to put UCSB up 3-0 in the first. The Gauchos then dismantled Trojan senior reliever Jordan Olson, tagging him for six runs in 1.2 innings. A solo home run off the scoreboard in right field from senior first baseman Josh McCanne and a two-run double from sophomore right fielder Matt Wilkerson put the Gauchos up 10-0.
While Santa Barbara took out some of its prolonged frustration at the plate, Thompson quietly dodged bullets on the mound. USC (21-19 overall) did not score against Thompson despite getting the first two runners aboard in each of the first, second, and fourth innings. USC finally scored on the southpaw in the fifth. Thompson left the game up 10-1 scattering six hits and three walks in five solid innings.
When junior Rich Sorenson relieved Thompson, the game and the Gauchos’ eight-game losing streak looked like history.
USC roared back with a five-run seventh and a six-run eighth, though, and UCSB suddenly found itself in serious need of effective relief. USC backup freshman utility outfielder Jason Filarey smacked a bases-loaded triple to the right field corner in the seventh. Trojan freshman pinch hitter and outfielder Ryan Broderick’s three-run homer off freshman Justin Segal in the eighth knotted the game 12-12 and devastated the Gauchos.
UCSB sophomore Eric Posthumus pitched the ninth and 10th innings. After a single to freshman designated hitter Baron Frost and a wild pitch to move Frost – who stole second -to third base, Broderick again came through. Broderick belted an infield hit with two outs in the 10th to score Frost and take the game away from the Gauchos.
Trojan sophomore Bret Butler, who pitched the final two innings, stifled the Gauchos with five strikeouts for the win. USC’s staff set the Gauchos down on strikes 18 times. The relief corps racked up 16 batters.
The Gauchos will take a nine-game losing streak into their first home series in three weeks against Big West foe #7 Long Beach State (27-12, 7-2) this weekend.