Who needed to watch the Super Bowl when you could have gotten just as much scoring from the UCSB baseball team this weekend? The Gauchos finished the weekend with 28 runs total, taking two of three from Pepperdine.
UCSB was able to salvage the series Sunday, despite losing game one Friday 8-4 and allowing the Waves to make a ninth-inning comeback in Malibu on Saturday.
The Gauchos took advantage of a night’s rest – game two was called due to darkness Saturday and resumed Sunday at UCSB – winning 12-9 in 11 innings. In game three, the Gauchos pounded Pepperdine 12-2.
“To win early is great. It gets the monkey off our backs,” senior second baseman Chris Malec said. “The win [Sunday] morning set the tone for the second game, and hopefully this will give us momentum for next weekend and the rest of the season.”
Senior catcher Matt Kalafatis started off the scoring for UCSB on Saturday, clearing the bases with a double in the first. Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson drove in three to help UCSB take a 9-4 lead into the ninth inning.
After pitching 3.1 innings of scoreless relief, senior reliever Loren Fraser gave up three in the ninth. Waves sophomore catcher Chad Tracy tied it up on a wild pitch from junior Nate Holguin.
The game resumed Sunday in the top of the 10th with the score knotted at nine. After a scoreless 10th, senior third baseman David Figoni drove in freshman designated hitter Matt Aidem. A walk and a single loaded the bases for Wilkerson, who drove in two more for the Gauchos, putting them up 12-9.
“Wilkerson’s hit was really big,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “Everything leading up to it was important too, but it was really big to get that hit with two outs.”
In the bottom of the 11th with the bases loaded and one out, senior Alex McRobbie came and earned the save, striking out both batters he faced.
Sophomore starter Andy Graham held the Waves to just one run on six hits in five innings Sunday. Graham got lots of help from junior first baseman Bill Rowe, who went 4-5 and finished the game with four RBIs. A six-run third inning gave UCSB an insurmountable 9-1 lead.
“Graham came out and gave up the run in the first and then settled down. His pitching was the nail in the coffin,” Brontsema said. “He wasn’t going to let them breathe, even when we scored all those runs. He really closed the deal for us.”
Malec and Wilkerson paced the Gauchos this weekend. Both batted .500 and combined to drive in nine and score 12 runs for the series.