May 16, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Mike Ford (6-4) tossed his second consecutive complete game, and Patrick Rose went 5-for-5 with four RBI, as the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos (32-19, 11-8) pounded UC Riverside (19-29, 12-7) 13-2 Friday afternoon at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Ford held the Highlanders to two runs on five hits, while striking out five and walking only two to earn his sixth victory, and fourth complete game of the year.
Riverside didn't score often, but they did score first, plating a run in the bottom of the first. With runners on the corners, clean up hitter Aaron Wible's sacrifice bunt back to the pitchers mound scored Joey Gonzales. Wible's bunt wasn't perfect, but it got the job done, as Ford fielded it out of the air with little time to try for a play at the plate.
The Gauchos came alive in the bottom of the fourth, scoring three runs to take a two run lead. Eric Oliver started the Gaucho rally with a lead off base hit to center field. Left fielder Mike Zuanich followed by grounding into a fielder's choice, as Oliver was forced out at second base on the play. In the ensuing at-bat the Gauchos used the hit and run with Shane Carlson at the plate, and it worked to perfection. Zuanich took off on the first pitch, as Carlson laced a base hit into center field. Then, with runners on the corners, Patrick Rose lined a ball into right. Highlander right fielder Joey Gonzales dove for the ball, but came up empty, allowing two runs to score, while Rose motored into third with a triple. With Rose on third, Gunnar Terhune hit a bounding ball to shortstop Trevor Hairgrove. Hairgrove botched the play, allowing Rose to score for the third Gaucho run of the inning. After four, UCSB held a 3-1 advantage.
The last run that Ford would allow came in the top of the sixth when Riverside's best hitter, Drew Garcia, parked a solo shot over the right field wall.
UCSB struck back in the bottom half, scoring three more times. With runners on first and second, Rose hit a one hopper off the right field wall on a 3-2 offering from Applebee. Rose's RBI double scored Zuanich from second, giving the Gauchos a 4-2 lead. With runners on second and third, Riverside brought the infield in and was burned in the next at-bat, as Terhune's high bounding ball up the middle evaded both Highlander middle infielders. The second baseman's RBI single ran Applebee from the game, after only five innings of work. UCSB wasn't done there, as Chris McMurray's sac fly into left field gave the Gauchos a 6-2 lead.
The Gauchos tacked on four more runs in the bottom of the seventh on Zuanich's 13th home run of the year. With Oliver on first, the Torrance, Calif., native launched a ball over the right center field wall. Zuanich's two-run blast gave the Gauchos a comfortable 8-2 cushion. Terhune drove in another run on a fielder's choice, followed by a run scoring single off the bat of McMurray. At the end of seven, UCSB lead by eight, 10-2.
Ford got stronger as the game progressed, as his 100th pitch of the game came on a strike out to end the top of the eighth inning.
Adding some insurance, UCSB scored three more times in the bottom of the eighth. RBI singles from Zuanich and Rose, and an RBI double from Carlson put the Gauchos up 11, 13-2.
Ford finished what he started in the top of the ninth, inducing pinch hitter Ben Price to pop up to short to end the ball game.
Rose led the way offensively for the Gauchos going 5-for-5 with two runs scored and four RBI. Zuanich also had a stellar day at the plate going 2-for-4 with four runs scored, and three RBI. Carlson added three hits in a 3-for-4 effort, with three runs scored and one RBI. Terhune went 1-for-4 with a run and three RBI. Oliver also went 2-for-4 with two runs.
All in all, the Gauchos three through seven hitters went a combined 13-for-21, with 11 runs scored, and 11 RBI.
Ford lowered his ERA to 2.88 on the season, and has now thrown a team-high 93.2 innings. In his last six outings, the Scottsdale, Ariz., native has thrown at least seven innings, including three complete games. In addition, the right-hander also lowered his batting average against to a stingy .222.
Paul Applebee (2-5) picked up the loss, allowing six runs on six hits in five innings of work.
UCSB resumes play tomorrow, May 17 at 1:00 p.m. as they take on UC Riverside in game two of the three-game series. Redshirt freshman Mario Hollands (6-2) takes on Riverside's Saturday starter Matt Larkins (6-4).