LOS ANGELES — Sometimes a couple errors ends up working out. After UC Santa Barbara second baseman Brandon Trinkwon committed two errors that helped lead to a four-run inning, he was replaced by light-hitting freshman Peter Maris.
Batting only .140 on the season when he stepped to the plate in the 12th inning, the 5-foot-9 freshman infielder delivered his first hit since April 1 at the opportune time.
With runners on first and second, Maris laced an RBI single to score Brett Vertigan and give the Gauchos a thrilling 5-4 extra-inning victory at USC’s Dedeaux Field Wednesday night that helped spoil a spectacular performance by USC redshirt senior Andrew Triggs.
Santa Barbara scored three runs to tie the game in the ninth inning and used a two-out rally capped by Maris’ game-winner in the 12th inning to take the victory.
Steven Moon, Vertigan and Lance Roenicke led off the ninth inning with three consecutive singles against Martin Viramontes to cut the lead to 4-2. The Gauchos tried to bunt the tying run into scoring position, but Maris’ sacrifice attempt was popped straight to the pitcher. Viramontes made the easy catch but then inexplicably threw the ball wildly to first base, allowing a run to score and the tying run to advance to second.
Freshman reliever Wyatt Strahan entered trying to strand the runner, but on an 0-2 pitch, pinch hitter Marc Venning lined a singled up the middle to tie the game.
In the 12th inning, the top of the Gauchos’ lineup did the damage again. With two outs, Vertigan singled to centerfield and Roenicke was awarded first base after taking a fastball off his protective elbow guard. Maris then hit the game-winner with Vertigan sliding in safely when J.R. Aguirre’s throw from left field was up the first base line.
UCSB had given USC the lead in the sixth inning. The Trojans scored four runs with the assistance of three Gaucho errors. After a walk, Matt Foat hit a slow roller to short that was thrown away. After Brandon Garcia pinch hit with an RBI single, Foat scored on a passed ball.
Garcia was eventually erased at third base on a strange full count squeeze play that James Roberts pulled the bat back on. Roberts was awarded first on the base on balls while Garcia was tagged out in a rundown. Dante Flores reached on an error and came around to score, with Roberts, on Trinkwon’s second error of the inning, making the score 4-1.
In the first inning, the Gauchos put runners on the corners with back-to-back singles to lead off the game and scored a run on a double play. That was the extent of their offensive output for the day against Triggs as he allowed three hits and one run in seven innings. Triggs struck out four, but he routinely got Santa Barbara to pound his sinker on the ground, inducing 13 groundouts.
Vertigan and Roenicke each finished with three hits. Foat and Roberts both had multi-hit games for USC. Matt Munson (2-1) took the loss for the Trojans while Greg Mahle (1-2) picked up the win for Santa Barbara with four excellent innings of relief, including stranding two runners in scoring position in bottom the ninth inning.
UC Santa Barbara continues on the road this weekend with a series at Pacific while USC must mull over this loss until Tuesday when the Trojans host Long Beach State.
Check out the full photo gallery from Wednesday night’s USC/UC Santa Barbara matchup below: