April 22, 2012

Pacific Baseball Can't Overcome Rough Start, Fall to UCSB 6-2

Stockton, Calif. - LHP Zak Edgington held Pacific to two hits through eight innings as the Tigers fell to UC Santa Barbara, 6-2, Sunday afternoon at Klein Family Field. Redshirt freshman 1B Erik Lockwood picked up an RBI double for Pacific to extend his hitting streak to five games.

The Gauchos tallied five runs in the top of the first, as freshman RHP Michael Hager saw his shutout inning streak snapped at 15.1 innings. Hager also issued a walk for the first time in 101 batters faced, snapping a stretch of 24.1 straight innings without issuing a free pass.

Edgington (2-3) walked six and hit three batters in his eight innings of work, but the Tigers hit into a pair of double plays and stranded nine men on base.

Senior SS Josh Simms led off the bottom of the first with a single to center, but was erased two pitches later on a double play. Pacific put two on in the second with two outs, but left the pair on base via flyout. The Tigers also stranded the bases loaded in the fourth.

In the Tigers' fifth, junior 3B Dustin Torchio was hit by pitch with one out, and Lockwood doubled into the corner in left. Lockwood's eighth double of the year cut the deficit to 6-1. But Lockwood was stranded at third as Edgington recorded a strikeout, and a two-out line drive by senior DH Daniel Johnston was gloved at first.

Following a one-out hit batter in the ninth by UCSB RHP Matt Vedo, senior PH/LF Brett Christopher ripped a single to center and freshman CF Tyler Sullivan scored on a wild pitch, but Vedo coaxed an infield pop-up and recorded a strikeout to end the game.

The Gauchos built a 5-0 lead in the first as CF Brett Vertigan singled, advanced on a sacrifice and scored on a wild pitch. Hager, who entered the game 14th in the NCAA in fewest walks allowed per nine innings, walked 2B Brandon Trinkwon for just the sixth base on balls Hager has issued this season. RF Joey Wallace and DH Greg Mahle each singled to make it 2-0, with the Tigers cutting down Wallace at third on Mahle's knock to left. 3B Ryan Palermo and SS Steven Moon each posted RBI singles, and LF Marc Venning drove home two with a double to left before Hager got out of the inning.

After the first, Hager settled down, not requiring more than 13 pitches each to end the next four innings. UC Santa Barbara scored an unearned run in the second on a single by Vertigan, a failed pick-off, and an RBI single by Wallace. Hager posted three shutout innings after that, including a six-pitch fifth inning. After a leadoff single in the sixth and a sacrifice bunt, freshman RHP Bryce Lombardi replaced Hager and retired back-to-back hitters.

Lombardi allowed just walk in the seventh and a single in the eighth, with the Tigers turning a double play on a soft liner to short to end the frame.

John Prato Matthews tossed a scoreless ninth, striking out two, but the Tigers fell to 1-8 in Big West play and 11-27 overall.

Edgington earned the win, striking out six, while Hager fell to 3-3 on the year, allowing four earned runs in 5.1 innings pitched on 12 hits. In his previous two outings, Hager allowed 11 hits in 15 scoreless innings.

UC Santa Barbara improves to 21-17 on the year, 7-5 in Big West play. The Tigers will visit Nevada on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. contest against the Wolf Pack.