March 14, 2008

Gauchos Rout Southern Utah University, 17-1

March 14, 2008

Box Score

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - The UC Santa Barbara baseball team (9-6) pounded out 22 hits en route to a 17-1 victory over Southern Utah University (5-6) at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Friday. Backed by a shutdown performance from ace Mike Ford, the Gaucho offense unloaded, tallying season-highs with 17 runs and 22 hits.

Ford (2-1) earned his second win of the season, allowing one unearned run on four hits in eight innings of work, striking out five and walking two. Ford's shutdown effort dropped his ERA to 1.67 on the year, while his strikeout to walk ratio improved to 31-9. In four starts to begin the season, the Scottsdale, Ariz., native has allowed only five runs in 27 innings of work.

The Gauchos scored early and often in support of Ford as they bounced out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning. Brian Gump led off the game with a beautifully executed bunt single, which found the hole between pitcher and second base. Eric Oliver then doubled off the right field wall, advancing Gump to third. Mike Zuanich singled through the middle, scoring both Gump and Oliver on the play.

An RBI groundout from third baseman Patrick Rose put the Gauchos ahead 3-0 in the second inning.

The Gauchos opened the floodgates in the bottom half of the third scoring seven runs on seven hits. Back to back singles from Chris Fox and Oliver got things started for the Gauchos. Zuanich followed by lacing a double down the left field line, scoring Fox to put the Gauchos in front, 4-0. Second baseman Shane Carlson continued the rally with a single through the right side of the Thunderbird infield, scoring both Oliver and Zuanich. The single pushed Carlson's hitting streak to an impressive 15 games. A single from Matt Valaika loaded the bases for UCSB. Freshman Mark Haddow got the job done with an RBI sac-fly to right field, scoring Carlson. Patrick Rose delivered the biggest hit in the third, tripling down the right field line to score Chris McMurray and Valaika to give the Gauchos a 9-0 advantage. Rose's triple ran Thunderbird starter Alec Reichle from the game. In his second at-bat of the inning, Fox singled home Rose for the final run of the inning. After three frames the Gauchos had a 10-0 lead.

Reichle (0-3) pitched 2.1 innings, allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on 10 hits, striking out two and walking none.

Ford would retire nine of the next ten Thunderbird batters, eventually allowing an unearned run in the seventh.

The UCSB attack was not done, scoring five more runs in the bottom of the eighth. The Gauchos bat around for the second time in the game in the eighth. Consecutive singles from Steve Cook and Valaika set the table for Santa Barbara. Matt McColgan pinch hit for McMurray and doubled to left field, scoring Cook. John DeAlba's sac-fly to deep right field scored Valaika from third, increasing the Gaucho lead to 14-1. A two-out two-RBI double from Bryce Lefebvre highlighted the Gaucho eighth. Zuanich collected his fourth RBI of the game by singling home Gunnar Terhune for the final Gaucho run of the frame.

Patrick McIntyre came on in relief of Ford to close things out, pitching a perfect ninth to cement the Gaucho victory.

Every Gaucho starter recorded at least one hit on the day. Valaika led the Gaucho attack with a 4-for-5 effort, scoring three times. Fox was 3-for-4 with a run scored and an RBI. Rose was 2-for-4 with a run scored and a team-high four RBI. Zuanich added three hits in a 3-for-6 effort, with one run scored and four RBI. Carlson extending his hitting streak to 15 games in the blow out.

The Gauchos have outscored their opponents 106 to 72 to begin the year. When leading after six innings, UCSB is a perfect 9-0. Five Gauchos are hitting over .300, while three have more than 10 RBIs through 15 games.

UCSB resumes play in a doubleheader tomorrow starting at 11:00 a.m. at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Game two of the doubleheader will begin approximately 30 minutes after the completion of the first game. Mario Hollands gets the ball in game one for the Gauchos, looking for his second win on the year, while senior Michael Martin mans the bump in game two.

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