UCSB starter Mike Ford stymied the potent UC Davis offense, allowing only four hits in a 9-2 win Friday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. Ford allowed only two runs in eight innings of work, silencing the Big West Conference’s most productive offense as the Gauchos dealt Aggies starter Eddie Gamboa his first loss of the season, collecting 14 hits along the way.
After Davis (21-11 overall, 3-1 in the Big West) scored a run in the top of the second, UCSB (23-9, 6-1) capitalized on four Aggies errors to score four runs in the bottom half. Shane Carlson reached on a fielding error by Davis shortstop Scott Heylman to begin the inning. Chris McMurray also reached on a fielding error, when Aggies right fielder Ryan Scoma botched his soaring pop fly. After Patrick Rose advanced the runners to second and third on a sacrifice bunt, freshman Mark Haddow singled through the left side to score the Gauchos’ first run of the game. With Haddow on first and McMurray on third, Haddow broke for second. Davis catcher Jake Jefferies’ errant throw to second base, allowed McMurray to scamper home on the double steal attempt, making the score 2-0. Brian Gump singled through the right side, scoring Haddow. With two out and one on, Gump scored on Gamboa’s throwing error, pushing the lead to 4-1.
Mike Zuanich led off the bottom of the third with a monstrous solo home run that sailed high over the left field scoreboard, extending the Gauchos’ lead to 5-1.
The unrelenting Gauchos scored a pair of runs in the fifth as Eric Oliver led off with a walk, followed by a Zuanich single to right field. Carlson then strolled to the plate and laced an RBI single up the middle, scoring Oliver for the sixth Gauchos run of the game. With runners on second and third, Rose hit a bounding ball in the hole that Davis shortstop Scott Heylman was unable to make a play on. The infield single scored Zuanich to give the Gauchos a 7-1 lead.
Gamboa (5-1) entered Friday’s contest with a perfect record, but wouldn’t pitch into the sixth inning, as the Gauchos got to the right-hander early and often. He went five innings, allowing seven runs (three earned) on 10 hits, while striking out four and walking one.
Ford (4-2) allowed a second run of the game in the sixth as Aggies first baseman Evan Hudson homered to right center field. It would be all Ford would allow in his eight spectacular innings, striking out five, while walking four. Ford has now pitched at least six innings in seven of his eight starts this year. He owns a spectacular 2.58 ERA, and has allowed only 47 hits in 52.1 innings of work.
The Gauchos countered with two more runs in the bottom of the sixth as Gump reached base on a single to center field. With two out and Gump at second, Zuanich unloaded on a Colin MsCusker offering, launching a two-run shot down the left field line. Zuanich’s second long ball of the day extended the Gauchos’ lead to 9-2.
Patrick McIntyre came on in relief of Ford to pitch a perfect ninth, securing the win for UCSB. Zuanich powered the Gauchos in a 3-for-5 effort, scoring three runs, while driving in three. Zuanich collected his sixth and seventh home runs on the year, increasing the powerful left fielder’s RBI total to 34. Gump went 3-for-5 with two runs scored, one RBI and a stolen base. Carlson added a pair of hits in a 2-for-5 effort, with one run scored and one RBI.
Click here for Friday’s official box score and play-by-play.
The Gauchos host UC Davis again Saturday in game two of their three-game weekend series. First pitch is at 1 p.m. Freshman southpaw Mario Hollands (3-1) will be looking for his fourth win on the year while Davis starter Brad McAtee (4-2) is hoping to return the Aggies to their winning ways.