IRVINE, Calif. — UC Irvine wanted an insurance run.
Leading 3-2, the Anteaters got a leadoff walk from Grant Palmer to start the bottom of the seventh inning. Head coach Mike Gillespie had Chris Rabago sacrifice Palmer to second base to set up preseason All-Americans Taylor Sparks and Connor Spencer, who combined for 159 hits and 85 RBI in 55 games last season.
All Sparks or Spencer needed was to knock a base hit. But instead, Sparks racked up his seventh strikeout in four games and Spencer grounded out to end the inning — and continued the Sparks/Spencer First Hit Watch that is now a combined 31 at bats deep. Two All-Americans now 0-for-31.
IRVINE, Calif. — Ryan Cooper may not have a hit since March 8, but that doesn’t mean the UC Irvine coaching staff doesn’t have faith in him. Cooper pinch hit with runners on the corners with one out in the ninth inning and laid down a perfect safety squeeze.
UC Davis catcher Izaak Silva did all he could to block the plate, but Justin Castro got his foot between Silva’s legs and toe-tapped the plate to give Irvine (26-12, 8-5) a 5-4 walk-off win Friday night at Anteater Ballpark.
The Aggies (15-24, 3-10) and Anteaters traded the lead back and forth before Taylor Sparks tied the game in the sixth inning with a home run over the left field fence. Neither team scored in the seventh or eighth innings, setting up the dramatic walk-off squeeze.
Mitch Merten picked up the win in relief for Irvine. Anteaters ace Andrew Thurman looked brilliant at times and easy to hit at times. Neither he nor UC Davis starter Harry Stanwyck factored in the decision after both allowed four runs in 7 2/3 innings pitched. Only three of Thurman’s runs were earned, but he allowed 11 hits.
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. — UC Irvine sophomore starting pitcher Andrew Thurman is actually human. Thurman allowed three earned runs, but picked up his seventh win of the season in the Anteaters 5-3 win over Cal State Northridge Friday afternoon.
Though he showed no signs of a metal endoskeleton, Thurman mowed through opposing lineups like a pitching terminator in the month of April. In his four starts, the right hander allowed 10 hits and two earned runs. He pitched three consecutive complete games, including a no-hitter against Long Beach State, which came a week after he took a no-hitter into the ninth inning against Cal State Fullerton.
With his recent string of success, it was feasible to ponder the possibility of another run at a no-hitter Friday afternoon at Matador Field against a light-hitting Northridge team that entered with a batting average just below .260. But Adam Barry made sure that didn’t happen with an infield single in the first inning.
The Matadors strung together five consecutive hits to open the second inning with three runs. They managed to collect nine hits against Thurman in his seven innings of work, but the Anteaters were able to get the win, scoring three runs in the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead and not looking back.
IRVINE, Calif. — Rivals UC Irvine and Cal State Fullerton split the first two games of their Big West conference series during Saturday’s doubleheader at Anteater Ballpark.
UC Irvine (18-13, 4-4) won the first game 4-1 thanks to an outstanding performance from sophomore starting pitcher Andrew Thurman (3-2). He pitched eight hitless innings before Austin Kingsolver broke up the no-hitter with an infield single on a chopper up the middle.
The Titans threatened in the ninth inning after a pair of walks loaded the bases, but Race Parmenter closed out the game, inducing a pair of ground balls for a double play and the final out.
Tommy Reyes had a big RBI single and Kris Paulino also drove in a run for the Anteaters.
After only one hit in the first game, Cal State Fullerton came out with their bats on fire in the second matchup. The Titans pounded 18 hits and ransacked the ‘Eaters 13-2. Fullerton chased Irvine starter Crosby Slaught (3-3) in a seven-run second inning. On the other side, Kenny Mathews really picked up the Titans. He allowed only two runs on six hits in seven strong innings. He didn’t walk a batter while striking out seven.
Cal State Fullerton had six batters record multiple-hit performances in the second game. Clay Williamson, in only his second career start, led the way with a pair of hits, including a bases-clearing triple in the second inning. Michael Lorenzen and Matt Chapman also had three RBI.
IRVINE, Calif. — Crosby Slaught pitched six strong innings and the offense erupted for 14 hits as UC Irvine took the series against BYU with a 9-2 win Saturday afternoon at Cicerone Field.
Slaught was removed in the seventh inning with an 8-0 lead after allowing only two hits and one walk in the game. The offense staked him to that lead with contributions throughout the lineup. Continue reading
IRVINE, Calif. — UC Irvine made three first inning runs hold up Thursday night at Anteater Ballpark to take a 3-1 win over Brigham Young in the series opener.
The Anteaters only managed four hits, but it was enough for junior right-hander Kyle Hooper. He improved to 3-0, pitching six innings and allowing only one run while striking out seven BYU batters.