State of the Ace: Gallagher spins shutout against UC Davis

UC Santa Barbara’s Ryan Gallagher spun a two-hit shutout of UC Davis.

Ryan Gallagher

Welcome to State of the Ace, a Saturday morning look at the best performances by Friday starters throughout the country.

UC Santa Barbara entered the year with a chance to have one of the nation’s top starting rotations, but the Gauchos have endured some ups and downs. On Friday, though, Ryan Gallagher delivered yet another gem as he continued his strong run of form.

The redshirt sophomore righthander — who missed all of 2023 due to injury — moved to 4-1 with a 2.49 ERA across eight starts after hurling a two-hit shutout in a 3-0 win over UC Davis. Gallagher scattered two hits, didn’t walk a batter, and struck out seven.

“Nice outing by Gallagher,” UCSB head coach Andrew Checketts told the team’s site. “[He was] in the zone all day and was efficient. [He] saved the bullpen and was in control from pitch one.”

Gallagher’s shutout followed seven innings of two-run ball against Hawaii last week in which he racked up 12 strikeouts. On the year, the righty has a 54:14 K/BB ratio and has gone at least five innings in six of his eight starts.

Let’s look at some of the other top pitching performances from Friday:

Wofford’s Zac Cowan. Wofford Photo

Zac Cowan, Wofford (vs. Mercer) — ND, 9 IP, 6 H, R, BB, 14 K

A brutally tough no-decision for Cowan, who enjoyed a career-best start. Nine innings of one-run ball before the bats woke up in extras as Wofford won in 12, 9-2. He’s 5-1 with 79 strikeouts in 63 innings and a 3.29 ERA.

Derik Eaquinto, Saint Mary’s (vs. San Francisco) — W, 8 IP, 2 H, R, 3 BB, 10 K

A strong season continued for Eaquinto, who was limited to five starts last year. He’s got a 50:16 K/BB ratio and is 3-1 after holding USF to two hits and a run in eight innings.

Gage Jump, LSU (vs. Missouri) — W, 7 IP, 3 H, R, BB, 14 K

A much-needed conference win for LSU came thanks to the bats coming alive and Jump locking down Missouri. He snapped a string of three straight shaky starts with seven innings of one-run ball, fanning 14. Jump has a 4.32 ERA and 55:16 K/BB ratio across nine starts.

C.J. Williams, Florida Atlantic (vs. Tulane) — W, 9 IP, 5 H, 2 BB, 5 K

Williams logged his fifth win in 10 starts and lowered his ERA to 2.83 with a gem against Tulane. The senior logged a shutout with with five strikeouts in a 5-0 win, limiting the Green Wave to two walks and five hits.

Payton Tolle, TCU (vs. Texas) — W, 7 IP, 4 H, 2 BB, 7 K

It’s been a bumpy stretch for the Horned Frogs but Tolle impressed on Friday. After giving up seven runs in his last two starts, Tolle struck out seven and held the Longhorns to four hits and two walks in a much-needed TCU win.

RJ Sales, UNCW (vs. Northeastern) — W, 6 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 10 K

Win No. 7 for Sales came against Northeastern in a big CAA matchup. The junior moved to 7-2 with a 3.22 ERA as he held the Huskies to three hits and three walks while striking out 10. He has 60 Ks in 58.2 IP this year.

Carter Holton, Vanderbilt (vs. Florida) — 7 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 10 K

After a difficult start against Texas A&M — 3.2 IP, 7 R — Holton was dialed in on Friday. The lefty secured the weekend series for Vanderbilt against the Gators by turning in seven innings of two-run ball with 10 strikeouts. Holton is 6-1 with a 3.31 ERA and gaudy 76:16 K/BB ratio in 50-plus innings this year.

Hagen Smith, Arkansas (vs. S. Carolina) — W, 6 IP, 2 H, R, 5 BB, 11 K

It was the third straight game with three-plus walks for Smith — but also the third in which he’s allowed four or fewer hits. Smith fanned 11 more to run his K total to an even 100 in just 53 innings. He now has a 1.53 ERA and is 8-0 in 10 starts for the Razorbacks.

Featured Image via UC Santa Barbara Athletics