Feb. 22, 2008
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Backed by a stellar performance from sophomore pitcher Mike Ford, the UC Santa Barbara baseball team got off to a hot start Friday as it defeated Marist 9-0 at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. The two squads will meet again Saturday in a doubleheader starting at 11 a.m.
Ford had a career day, one-hitting Marist (0-1) through seven innings of work and striking out a career-high 11 batters along the way. The 2007 Freshman All-American pitched as though he was in mid-season form, striking out seven of the first 12 batters he faced. Ford struck out the side in the seventh to cement his sterling performance. The Scottsdale, Ariz. native threw first pitch strikes all day long, keeping the Marist batters off balance with a steady mix of fastballs and curveballs. The lone hit Ford allowed came in the sixth inning when Red Fox second baseman Kyle Meyer hit a high chopper up the middle. UCSB second baseman Shane Carlson ranged to his right and fielded the ball cleanly, but was unable to make a throw on the play.
Friday marked the second time in Ford's young career that he recorded double-digit strikeout totals as he sat down 10 Long Beach State batters last May in 7.2 innings of work.
UCSB (1-0) jumped on Marist early and often, scoring four runs in the first two innings. Three of those came in the opening frame, the first when third baseman Patrick Rose was plated by a single from left fielder Mike Zuanich. With one out and two runners on, shortstop Matt Valaika cracked a liner to left. Marist left fielder Brian McDonough misjudged the ball, having it glance off his glove and go careening to the warning track. Two runs scored on the play and the Gauchos would not look back from there.
Marist starter Josh Rickards was knocked out of the game in the fourth inning having allowed six runs (four earned) on six hits with four walks and three strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
With the exception of first baseman Eric Oliver, who walked four times in the game, and DH Gunnar Terhune, every Gaucho starter had at least one hit. Rose got UCSB off to a fast start out of the leadoff spot, going 2-for-4 with three runs scored and a pair of stolen bases. Outfielder Chris Fox went 3-for-5 with a homerun and three RBI out of the two hole. Zuanich added two hits in four at-bats with one run scored and an RBI. All told, the senior trio went 7-for-13 on the day with five runs scored and four RBI. The Gauchos ended up stranding 10 runners on base.
Junior Matt Wade came on in relief of Ford, pitching a perfect eighth, striking out one. From there the Gauchos turned to sophomore Clayton Edwards, who finished off the Red Foxes in style, striking out two batters in a 1-2-3 ninth inning.
Head Coach Bob Brontsema and the eager Gauchos look to build on Friday's success in games two and three of the series on Saturday. Due to weather forecasts, Sunday's third game has been rescheduled as part of Saturday's 11 a.m. doubleheader.
-- UCSBGauchos.com --