Slaught Wins Duel, Stephens Delivers
IRVINE, Calif. --- Crosby Slaught gave the Anteaters a stellar outing on the mound, pitching seven shutout innings to win a pitchers' duel and give UCI the series win with a 2-0 victory over UC Santa Barbara Saturday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Slaught, who has now logged 14 scoreless innings, struck out five and walked three while holding the Gauchos to four hits to improve to 6-4 on the year.
The senior gave up back-to-back hits to open the game but picked off Brett Vertigan for the first out. A wild pitch on strike three to Brandon Twinkwon put runners at first and third but Slaught struck out the next two batters to escape the inning unscathed.
Slaught retired 15 straight batters before yielding a gap triple to Vertigan with one out in the sixth. He helped himself by fielding a slow bouncer back to the mound for second out. However, after intentionally walking Trinkwon, the right-hander walked Joey Wallace to load the bases. Greg Mahle hit a soft blooper to left that might have scored two runs but Jeff Stephens made the diving catch to keep the Gauchos off the board.
Stephens (3 for 4) also provided the heroics at the plate in the sixth. Jordan Fox was hit by the pitch to lead off the frame and Jerry McClanahan drew a four-pitch walk from starter Andrew Vasquez. Connor Spencer's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners and Stephens jumped on the first pitch for a flare to left-center, scoring Fox.
The Anteaters capitalized on a leadoff walk again in the eighth. Spencer took first on a four-pitch free pass and pinch runner Justin Castro advanced to second on a passed ball. Stephens beat out the throw on a bunt single, putting Castro at third. Scott Gottschling's slow chopper to short would be enough to drive in Castro for the insurance run.
Jimmy Litchfield entered in the top of the eighth and his first pitch to Vertigan was a bouncer to Fox, that got by the first baseman for an error. Following a sacrifice bunt, Litchfield induced a fly ball to center for the second out with Vertigan tagging on the play. Litchfield handed the ball off to Race Parmenter, who struck out Wallace on three pitches to end the inning. Parmenter then retired three of four batters in the ninth, including striking out the final two to pick up his sixth save of the year.
Vasquez (6-4) took the hard-luck loss after pitching 6.1 innings and allowing one run on six hits while striking out five.
The series concludes Sunday at 2:00 p.m. and will be aired on ESPNU.