San Jose, Calif. – Maybe the UCSB baseball team should have a game suspended every series. So far, it has led to two series wins to kick off the 2005 season.
The Gauchos (4-2) traveled north and took two out of three from San Jose State. UCSB won the bookends, taking game one 5-4 and game three 6-1, while the Spartans (3-4) pitched their way to a 6-1 win in game two.
The Gauchos had their second-straight dominant performance from sophomore starter Andy Graham in Sunday’s rubber match. Graham matched the previous weekend’s performance, giving up just one run on six hits and striking out five in seven innings.
“We played our best game [Sunday]. That was mainly because [Graham] pitched so well,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “He really set the tone for us. He was the difference in the game.”
Game three also saw sophomore shortstop Chris Valaika score three and go three for four with two doubles. Senior third baseman Dave Figoni gave the Gauchos a five-run lead in the sixth with a two-run single into center field.
In game two Saturday, UCSB was stifled by the Spartans’ pitching. With San Jose State up 2-1 in the seventh, sophomore Justin Segal relieved junior starter Michael Martin.
Segal was not able to record an out, giving up four straight singles, three on bunt plays, before being pulled in favor of junior Nate Holguin. Holguin finished the inning for UCSB but not before the Spartans opened the game up, scoring three to go up 5-1.
San Jose State needed just one pitcher to get things done against the Gauchos. Freshman Brandon Hennessey made the most of his first collegiate start, tossing a complete game, giving up one run on six hits and striking out five.
The Gauchos’ only run of the game came from their first at-bat in the form of junior center fielder Matt Emerick’s lead-off home run. Emerick batted .555 on the weekend, scoring three and walking five times.
“You tip your hat to a pitcher like that. Then you have to move on and get to work, and we did that [Sunday],” Brontsema said. “He definitely pitched a really good game.”
Late-inning heroics were the story for UCSB in Friday’s game. Down 4-2 in the top of the ninth, senior catcher Matt Kalafatis dinged a two-run homer to tie the score at four.
A double from senior second baseman Chris Malec drove in the go-ahead run in the top of the 12th inning before the game was suspended due to rain.
UCSB took the 5-4 lead into the completion of the game Saturday and closed the deal with Holguin picking up his first save of the season.