It may not have been the Trojan horse, but UCSB baseball earned a win against #23 USC for the first time in six years Wednesday.
The Trojans (21-10 overall, 6-3 in the Pac-10) must have left their A-game at home, dropping an error-ridden game to Santa Barbara 9-8.
Timely hitting was the key for the Gauchos (17-17, 1-2 in the Big West) in the win – five of their nine runs came with two outs. Santa Barbara spread the scoring throughout the lineup, getting runs from seven different players.
“We have to play the way we know we can. We haven’t been playing as well as we know we can,” junior first baseman Bill Rowe said. “Hopefully, this will be the kick in the butt we needed.”
Senior right fielder Matt Wilkerson kicked off the scoring in the first with a two-run homer, while senior third baseman Dave Figoni drove a two-run single into left field in the second to give the Gauchos a 4-0 lead.
Santa Barbara senior starter Loren Fraser held USC scoreless through the first three innings before giving up three runs, shrinking the lead to 4-3.
After tacking on another run in the fifth, the Gauchos added three more in the sixth. Following an RBI single off the bat of freshman designated hitter Matt Aidem, Rowe popped a two-run laser over the right field wall to give UCSB an 8-3 lead.
The Gauchos got three scoreless innings of work from sophomore reliever Justin Segal before junior right-hander Nate Holguin entered the game in the eighth. Four hits, three runs and one error later, Holguin was done.
With two on and none out, senior closer Alex McRobbie relieved Holguin to stop the bleeding with two ground outs.
In the bottom half of the eighth, senior center fielder Matt Emerick brought home the eventual game winner with an RBI single into right with the bases loaded.
“That last run was big. We were playing for one run so that was certainly a big hit,” Head Coach Bob Brontsema said. “It really proved to be important.”
Despite giving up a two-run homer in the top of the ninth, McRobbie hung on to earn his seventh save of the season. Fraser got the win, allowing three runs on four hits in four innings of work.