SDSU defeats No. 13 UCSB at NCAA Baseball Regional
LAKE ELSINORE, Calif - Steven Pallares stole home with two out in the eighth inning to break a 3-3 deadlock and propel San Diego State to a 4-3 victory over No. 13 UC Santa Barbara at the NCAA Regional in Lake Elsinore, Calif. With the win the Aztecs improved to 41-21 on the season as they won their first contest at a Regional since defeating Fresno State in 2009.
Much of the pre-game hype was for UCSB starting pitcher Dillon Tate, a second-team All-America selection and presumed first-round pick in next month's Major League draft. He was matched up against SDSU junior right-hander Bubba Derby, a first-team all-conference selection.
It didn't take long for the Aztecs to solve Tate as they got on the board in their first at bat, scoring twice against the UCSB ace. Pallares led off the game by drawing a walk and advancing to third on a perfectly executed hit-and-run single by Danny Sheehan. A wild pitch moved both runners up a base and gave the Aztecs a 1-0 lead. Spencer Thornton followed with a two-out single to center to drive home Sheehan with the second run of the frame.
SDSU added a run to its lead in the second when Pallares took Tate deep over the left field fence for his ninth home run of the season. The Aztec junior would finish the night with three hits, an RBI and three runs scored. He accounted for half of his team's total of six hits in the contest and also drew a walk.
UC Santa Barbara (40-16-1) fought its way back with single runs in both the second, third and fifth frames. Its first two runs were helped by untimely wild pitches by Derby.
A single and wild pitch to start the bottom of the second set the stage for a pair of ground outs that scored the Gauchos' first run. In the third a one-out double and grounder to second put a runner on third for UCSB and he scored on a wild pitch before Derby got the third out.
The Gauchos tied the game in the bottom of the fifth on a leadoff double, sacrifice bunt and single up the middle to make it a 3-3 contest.
In the top of the eighth, Pallares led off with a single and one out later stole second. He advanced to third on Ty France's deep fly ball to center field for the second out of the inning. Then with Seby Zavala at the plate with a 1-2 count, Pallares broke for the plate and beat the tag for the game-winning run.
Derby, meanwhile, settled down after the fifth inning and finished the game by retiring 12 of the final 13 batters he faced. That included getting the side in order in both the eighth and ninth innings after the Aztecs had taken the lead. With the complete-game victory Derby, who recorded nine strikeouts, improved to 8-4.
Tate, meanwhile, was tagged for the loss to fall to 8-5. He allowed SDSU's four runs on six hits with a walk and 11 strikeouts.
San Diego State will now move on to Saturday when it will face Virginia, a 6-1 winner over USC earlier on Friday, in a contest set to get underway at 7:00 p.m. at The Diamond in Lake Elsinore.