Ford Takes Perfect Game Into the Sixth, but Gauchos Can't Hang On, Drop 8-3 Decision at No. 26 TCU
April 1, 2007
FORT WORTH, Texas - UC Santa Barbara freshman pitcher Mike Ford hurled 5.2 innings of perfect ball against 26th-ranked Texas Christian on Sunday afternoon in Fort Worth. Ford carried a one-hit shutout into the seventh inning, but he tired and the Gauchos could not hold a 3-0 lead and ultimately lost to the Horned Frogs, 8-3.
Ford, a first-year right hander out of Scottsdale, Ariz., dominated through the first six innings, allowing just one hit and four balls to be hit out of the infield. He induced numerous ground ball outs and posted three strikeouts without walking a batter. Ford, however, tired in the seventh inning and TCU pounced on the opportunity to tie the score.
The bottom of the seventh saw the Horned Frog bats come alive as they tied the game at three thanks to four hits and two costly UCSB errors. Third baseman Steven Trout got things started with a base hit up the middle. Center fielder Keith Conlon's line drive deflected off the pitcher for a base hit to put two on with nobody out. Right fielder Austin Adams hit what looked like a double play ball to short, but Gaucho sophomore Shane Carlson didn't field the ball cleanly and Trout scored from second. On the same play, Carlson's throw to the plate was errant, allowing Conlon and Adams to move up 90 feet into scoring position. Designated hitter Corey Steglich made it a one-run game with a sacrifice fly and first baseman Matt Vern tied it with a single to left.
With lefty Jeff Braun on in relief, UCSB suffered a defensive collapse in the bottom of the eighth as TCU put up five runs to break the game open and earn its second come-from-behind victory in as many days. Three consecutive singles, two by way of the bunt, loaded the bases with nobody out. Adams again put the pressure on the defense and again, they were not up to the task as the third baseman threw wide of home plate trying to get the force out and Kervin slid in safely with the go-ahead run. A wild ricochet on the errant throw also allowed Trout to score, giving TCU the 5-3 lead.
With the infield drawn in, Steglich ripped a ball right at second baseman Patrick Rose, who opted to thrown home to cut down the run, but his throw was not in time and Conlon was safe at home. Andrew Walker followed with a two-run single to center to round out the scoring for the Frogs.
The Gauchos had built a 3-0 lead through six innings. In the third inning, Carlson doubled to lead things off and ultimately scored on a ground out by center fielder Chris Fox. In the sixth inning, UCSB scored two more. With two outs, first baseman Robbie Blauer singled through the left side. Left fielder Mike Zuanich walked and he was followed catcher Matt Anderson who doubled to left center, scoring a pair of runs and giving Santa Barbara a 3-0 lead at the time.
The loss was the Gauchos fifth in a row and it drops them to 11-16 on the year. TCU improves to 21-8 on the season.
UCSB will return to the diamond on Thursday, April 5, when it travels to UC Riverside to open Big West Conference play against the Highlanders in a three-game series next weekend. The Thursday and Friday games will start at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday's finale will begin at 1:00 p.m.