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Saturday, February 16 , 2019, 3:45 pm | A Few Clouds 61º

Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Gauchos Play Hits and Runs Against Southern Utah

UCSB's 17-1 blowout tallies season highs in hits, runs while Ford lives up to ace status.

UCSB pounded out 22 hits en route to a 17-1 victory over Southern Utah at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium on Friday. Backed by a dominating performance from ace Mike Ford, the Gauchos’ 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, while his strikeout to walk ratio improved to 31-to-9. In four starts to begin the season, he has allowed only five runs in 27 innings of work.

UCSB (9-6) scored early and often in support of Ford as the Gauchos bounced out to a 2-0 first-inning lead. Brian Gump led off the game with a beautifully executed bunt single, which found the hole between the pitcher and second base. Eric Oliver then doubled off the right field wall, advancing Gump to third. Mike Zuanich  singled through the middle in the ensuing at-bat, scoring both Gump and Oliver.

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

UCSB 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. Zuanich followed by lacing a double down the left field line, scoring Fox to make the score 4-0. Second baseman Shane Carlson continued the rally with a single through the right side of the Southern Utah infield, scoring Oliver and Zuanich. Carlson’s single ran his 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 sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Carlson. 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 Thunderbirds 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 for Southern Utah (5-6), allowing 10 runs (eight earned) on 10 hits, striking out two and walking none.

Ford would retire nine of the next 10 Thunderbirds 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 batted around for the second time in the eighth. Consecutive singles from former SBCC star Steve Cook and Valaika set the table for UCSB. Matt McColgan pinch hit for McMurray and doubled to left field, scoring Cook.  Former SBCC star John DeAlba’s sacrifice fly to deep right field scored Valaika from third, increasing the Gauchos lead to 14-1. A two-out two-RBI double from Bryce Lefebvre highlighted the Gauchos’ eighth. Zuanich collected his fourth RBI of the game by singling home Gunnar Terhune for the final run of the inning.

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

Every Gauchos starter recorded at least one hit on the day. Valaika led the 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 RBIs. Zuanich added three hits in a 3-for-6 effort, with one run scored and four RBIs. Carlson extended his hitting streak to 15 games in the blowout.

The Gauchos have outscored their opponents, 106-72. 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.

Click here for Friday’s box score and play-by-play.

UCSB and Southern Utah will play a doubleheader beginning at 11 a.m. Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Mario Hollands gets the ball in the Gauchos’ first game while senior Michael Martin will pitch in game two.

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