March 7, 2008
Houston, Texas - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team (7-4) lost 4-1 against the University of Houston (7-4) in a pitchers duel at Cougar field on Friday. Sophomore Mike Ford struck out nine through six innings of work, but was out dueled by Cougar starter Wes Musick who threw eight innings of one-run ball to silence the potent Gaucho offense.
The Cougars put up two runs in the bottom half of the first to start the scoring. Blake Kelso led off the inning with a single. Ryan Lormand grounded a ball to third and reached first base on a fielders choice, as Kelso was forced out at second on the play. Two consecutive walks loaded the bases for Cougar third baseman Jimmy Cesario. Cesario singled through the right side scoring Lormand and Bryan Pounds, but was thrown out on the play trying to advance to second to end the inning. The inning-ending play resulted in a 2-0 lead for the Cougars.
Ford struck out the side in the second, but surrendered another run in the third. Kelso started off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sac bunt from Murphy. Pounds drove home Kelso with an RBI single to center field to run the score to 3-0.
Ford settled down over the next three frames striking out one in the fourth, two in the fifth, and one in the sixth. He was relieved by Matt Wade in the seventh after going six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out nine and walking four.
An RBI double from catcher Austin Goolsby in the seventh pushed the Cougar lead to 4-0.
The Gauchos plated their lone of the game in the eighth as shortstop Matt Valaika homered for the second consecutive game. Valaika took a 1-1 offering from Muslick and hit it high over the left field wall for his second homerun of the year. Valaika continued his offensive surge after going 4-for-4 with a homerun, two runs scored, and two RBI on Wednesday against Cal State Northridge.
Musick went eight strong, allowing one run on five hits, striking out six and walking one, before giving way to Cougar closer Chase Dempsay in the ninth. Dempsay walked one and struck out one, recording his first save of the year.
Shane Carlson went 2-for-4 with a double on the day. Carlson has hit safely in every game this year, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. The Stevenson Ranch, Calif., native leads the Gauchos with a .415 batting average with two homeruns and a team-high 12 RBI.
Ford's nine punch outs give him 26 in his three starts this year. The Scottsdale, Ariz., native is 1-1 on the year with a 2.37 ERA.
The Gauchos resume play tomorrow at 4:30 p.m. PDT as they square off against the Cougars in game two of the three-game set.