Feb. 18, 2003
The UCLA baseball team (5-6) dropped a close 7-5 contest at UC Santa Barbara (4-7) on Tuesday afternoon in front of 317 fans at Cesar Uyesaka Stadium.
The Gauchos struck quickly off of Bruin starting pitcher Hector Ambriz (0-2). Lead off hitter Blair Havens and Nate Sutton reached on a single and a walk to open the first inning. A wild pitch and a balk brought in Havens, and a triple by Wilkerson plated Sutton. However, Ambriz got out of the jam, striking out two batters and forcing a pop-up to strand Wilkerson on third.
UCLA fought back in the second inning. After two strikeouts, three singles coupled with a hit batsmen drove in two Bruins. Outfielder Adam Simon singled to left bringing in Wes Whisler and Ryan McCarthy. Simon and Whisler both finished the day 2-for-4 with 2 RBI for the Bruins.
Santa Barbara took the lead for good in the fourth inning. With the score tied 3-3, a dropped throw by Bruin first-baseman Whisler allowed leadoff hitter Matt Emerick to reach base. The error lead the way for four unearned runs to score. With two outs, Wilkerson singled to left field bringing in Emerick and pinch-hitter Bryan Adams. Adams had walked to reach base. After DH Taylor Vogt singled, catcher Chad Ziemendorf launched a double off of the wall in left, clearing the bases and giving UCSB a 7-3 lead.
The Bruins were unable to start a rally in the seventh, with only four batters heading to the plate in the inning. However, in the eighth, a lead-off double from Billy Susdorf started a late surge. He advanced to third on a wild pitch and would later score on a ground out from Whisler. Yet, a strikeout by Thayer and the ground outs by Whisler and McCarthy ended the comeback with UCLA trailing 7-5.
Gaucho reliever Steve Murlock took the mound in the ninth inning and struck out the side to end the game.
Ambriz lasted four innings for UCLA allowing seven runs on eight hits, while striking out six. Bryan Beck came in to relieve Ambriz and did not allow a run in three innings of action. Simon threw the last inning and struck out one without allowing a run.
UCLA will be back in action on Friday night when it takes on Texas A&M in College Station, Texas in the first game of the Dominos Pizza Aggies Baseball Classic. The Bruins will face Utah, Creighton and the Aggies twice each over four days of competition.