Wednesday, June 20 , 2018, 3:24 am | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 
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Houston Wins Pitchers’ Duel against Gauchos

UCSB's high-powered bats are frustrated by Cougars starter in 4-1 loss.

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Houston (7-4) put up two runs in the bottom half of the first to start the scoring. Blake Kelso led off the inning with a single. Ryan Lormand grounded a ball to third and reached first base on a fielders choice, as Kelso was forced out at second on the play. Two consecutive walks loaded the bases for Jimmy Cesario. The Cougars third baseman singled through the right side, scoring Lormand and Bryan Pounds, but was thrown out on the play trying to advance to second. The inning-ending play resulted in a 2-0 lead for Houston

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Ford struck out the side in the second, but surrendered another run in the third. Kelso started off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Murphy. Pounds drove home Kelso with an RBI single to center field to run the score to 3-0.

 

UCSB traveled to the Lone Star State for a three-game series with Houston, but dropped the opening-game pitchers’ duel Friday, 4-1. Sophomore Mike Ford struck out nine through six innings of work, but was outpitched by Cougars starter Wes Musick, who threw eight innings of one-run ball to silence the potent Gauchos offense.

Houston (7-4) put up two runs in the bottom half of the first to start the scoring. Blake Kelso led off the inning with a single. Ryan Lormand grounded a ball to third and reached first base on a fielders choice, as Kelso was forced out at second on the play. Two consecutive walks loaded the bases for Jimmy Cesario. The Cougars third baseman singled through the right side, scoring Lormand and Bryan Pounds, but was thrown out on the play trying to advance to second. The inning-ending play resulted in a 2-0 lead for Houston.

Ford struck out the side in the second, but surrendered another run in the third. Kelso started off the inning with a walk and advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Murphy. Pounds drove home Kelso with an RBI single to center field to run the score to 3-0.

Ford settled down over the next three frames, striking out one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the sixth. He was relieved by Matt Wade in the seventh after going six innings, allowing three runs on seven hits, striking out nine and walking four.

An RBI double from catcher Austin Goolsby in the seventh pushed the Cougars’ lead to 4-0.

The Gauchos scored their lone of the game in the eighth as shortstop Matt Valaika homered for the second consecutive game. Valaika took a 1-1 offering from Musick and hit it high over the left field wall for his second homer of the year. In Wednesday’s game against Cal State Northridge, he went 4-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and two RBIs.

Musick went eight strong innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out six and walking one, before giving way to Cougars closer Chase Dempsay in the ninth. Dempsay walked one and struck out one for his first save.

Shane Carlson went 2-for-4 with a double on the day. Carlson has hit safely in every game this year, extending his hitting streak to 11 games. He leads the Gauchos with a .415 batting average with two home runs and a team-high 12 RBIs.

Ford’s nine strikeouts give him 26 in his three starts this year. He is 1-1 on the year with a 2.37 ERA.

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

The Gauchos resume play Saturday afternoon, with the weekend’s final game Sunday.

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