IRVINE, Calif. --- The Anteaters scored two runs in the first inning and Andrew Thurman made it stand as the right-hander recorded a career-high 11 strikeouts and posted his fifth career complete-game as No. 25 UC Irvine edged Nebraska, 2-1, at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
The Anteaters loaded the bases in the first on three consecutive singles from Grant Palmer, Connor Spencer and Ronnie Shaeffer. Taylor Sparks was hit by the pitch, pushing across Palmer and Kris Paulino's sacrifice fly to left would score Spencer for the 2-0 lead.
Thurman, who had six strikeouts in the first three innings, had to contend with Nebraska's first threat in the fourth. The Huskers put runners on first and second and then advanced on a sacrifice bunt by Josh Scheffert. However, Thurman struck out Austin Darby and then induced a grounder to Chris Rabago to get out of the inning.
Nebraska got on the board in the sixth as Michael Pritchard belted a double to left and took third on a fielding error by Paulino. Pritchard scored on a sacrifice fly-ball to right off the bat of Chad Christensen to cut the Anteater lead in half.
The Huskers led off the ninth with a single up the middle and a fielding error by Dominique Taylor allowed Rich Sanguinetti to take second on the play. However, Christensen hit a grounder to Rabago, who fired it to Sparks at third in time for the tag on Sanguinetti. Scheffert then hit a bouncer back to Thurman, who started the 1-6-3 double-play to end the game.
Sparks had a perfect day at the plate for the Anteaters, reaching in all four plate appearances and batting 3 for 3 with an RBI. Taylor added two hits, including a triple, his second of the year.
Starter Christian DeLeon suffered the loss, dropping to 1-2 after pitching 6.1 innings and allowing two runs on eight hits.
The series continues Saturday at 1:00 p.m.