Baseball Defeats UC Santa Barbara, 7-4, In Non-Conference Contest
March 31, 2009
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Home runs by Mitch Blackburn and Chris Wilson accounted for five runs as 21st-ranked San Diego State defeated UC Santa Barbara, 7-4, Tuesday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The win was the Aztecs' 12th in their last 14 games as they improved to 19-9 on the year. The Gauchos, who were ranked 20th in the nation last week, fell to 14-8.
Blackburn's homer, the first of his SDSU career, was a two-run shot to right field that broke a scoreless deadlock in the top of the fourth. Erik Castro, who had walked to open the inning, scored ahead of him.
Nate Solow, making just his third start of 2009, allowed one hit but faced the minimum of nine batters over his first three innings of work. But after San Diego State took the lead, the Gauchos wasted little time in tying the game as they came back with a pair of runs in the bottom of the fourth off the Aztec junior lefty.
A leadoff single by Gunnar Terhune was followed by back-to-back doubles by Ryan Cavan and Eric Oliver that made it a 2-2 contest.
Not to be outdone, SDSU put four runs on the board in its next at bat, all coming after the first two hitters in the frame were retired. After Brandon Decker and Brandon Meredith drew walks off UCSB hurler Matthew Brady, Erik Castro greeted reliever Clayton Edwards with a single to left to bring home Decker with the go-ahead run. Chris Wilson then stepped up and belted a 2-1 pitch over the left field fence for a three-run homer that gave the visitors a 6-2 lead.
After getting through the next two innings with only a walk allowed, Solow was touched up for a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh on a double to Matt Valaika and ensuing two-run homer by Ryan Tregoning that narrowed SDSU's lead to just two runs at 6-4.
Solow's afternoon came to an end after that frame as senior James McLaughlin would come on in the eighth to retire the side in order. After the Aztecs added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI single by Meredith, Addison Reed would be called upon to close out the contest. He did so, getting all three hitter he faced in the final inning to record his ninth save of the season. Reed's save total in 2009 leads the nation (Division I) this week.
Solow would be credited with the win to improve to 1-2 while UCSB's Brady would suffer the loss to fall to 0-2.
Meredith led all SDSU hitters with a pair singles and a double as he extended his hitting streak to seven games, tying for the longest by an Aztec in 2009. Pat Colwell contributed a pair of singles and scored a run while Erik Castro drove in a run and crossed the plate twice himself.
UC Santa Barbara and San Diego State will conclude their home-and-home series when the Gauchos visit Tony Gwynn Stadium on Wednesday, April 1, for a contest scheduled for a 2:00 p.m. start.