After 18 innings of discouraging baseball, UCSB escaped the stranglehold of the San Jose State pitching staff and its own defensive inconsistency with a 4-2 win Sunday at Cesar Uyesaka Stadium, after losing the first two games of the series 9-2 and 11-2.
With sophomore Michael Martin keeping the Spartans off balance Sunday in his 7 1/3 innings of work, UCSB established an early lead and never looked back behind the pitching of the emerging stopper.
Martin’s performance was the second of its kind in as many weeks, propelling the Gauchos with a win after a loss. Martin was able to temper the eager Spartan bats that put up 20 runs in the first two games of the series.
“They’re an aggressive team, so I knew I had to be fine with it, and I took the count 1-0 a lot to keep them honest,” Martin said after allowing just one earned run on three hits.
After the game, UCSB Head Coach Bob Brontsema emphasized the stalwart importance of Martin’s outing and revealed that Martin was pitching through a bothersome injury, a blister on his middle finger.
After a two-hit day Saturday, senior third baseman Nate Sutton had another productive day from the leadoff spot, reaching base three times, scoring once and plating two of his own. The encouraging victory Sunday afternoon kept the Spartans from sweeping the three-game series, placing a positive spin on an otherwise forgettable performance in the first two games of the series.
Friday afternoon, down 3-2, UCSB went into the seventh inning thinking a close game was at its feet but lost focus while San Jose State capitalized on costly Gaucho errors of the mental and physical ilk. With one out and senior Ivan Ramirez hurling, a Nate Sutton error allowed SJSU second baseman Kevin Frandsen to reach first. A Brad Kilby double then allowed Frandsen to round the bases, and one hit batsman later, Ramirez’s day was over. Junior Nate Holguin replaced Ramirez, but San Jose State cared little. The Spartans hit Holguin for three runs on three hits, and the Gauchos’ one-run deficit was now seven.
Saturday, the San Jose State bats continued their massacre of the Gaucho pitching staff, jumping to a 6-0 lead in the first inning off Gaucho senior starting pitcher James Dayley and senior Rich Sorenson. Dayley left the game after giving up his third run with two on and no outs. Sorenson came in to face to Spartan first baseman Brandon Fromm, who teed off for the first of his two round-trippers in the game. Distanced from the San Jose State lead the entire game, the Gauchos collected 10 hits, including senior catcher Taylor Vogt’s second-inning homer, but never came closer than five.
Santa Barbara faces Westmont today at 2:00 p.m. at Cesar Uyesaka Stadium, with freshman Andy Graham listed as the probable starter.