STOCKTON, Calif. --- A combination of a strong start from Andrew Thurman and clutch hitting by the Anteaters resulted in an 8-4 win over Pacific Friday at Klein Family Field.
Thurman, who was given a 6-0 lead, held the Tigers to a run through seven innings but would leave with the bases loaded and two outs in the eighth. The right-hander improved to 4-3 after logging 7.2 innings while allowing four runs on six hits and striking out four.
The Anteaters (24-10, 6-4) went down in order the first three innings but got to starter John Haberman in the fourth. Chris Rabago and Dominique Taylor opened the frame with consecutive singles and advanced a base on the sacrifice bunt from Connor Spencer. Ronnie Shaeffer was intentionally walked to load the bases and Taylor Sparks capitalized by slapping a single through the left side to drive in Rabago and Taylor. Scott Gottschling followed with a two-out flare to right to give the Anteaters their second two-RBI hit of the inning and a 4-0 lead.
Rabago tacked on a run in the fifth with a hit up the middle to drive in Mikey Duarte, who had been hit by the pitch to take first and Jerry McClanahan drove in Shaeffer in the sixth with a double to left-centerfield.
Sparks continued the scoring in the eighth, doubling in Spencer and coming home on a wild pitch for the 8-1 lead.
The Tigers loaded the bases against Thurman in the eighth on a pair of singles and a base on balls. Thurman handed the ball off to reliever Elliot Surrey, who hit Dustin Torchio with the pitch to force across a run and Jason Taasaas followed with a two-run single up the middle as Pacific cut the lead in half at 8-4. Surrey handed the ball to Sam Moore, who ended the threat by inducing a groundball to second. Jimmy Litchfield set the Tigers down in order in the ninth, striking out two.
Sparks led UCI, batting 2 for 4 with three RBI while Gottschling drove in two runs on one hit. McClanahan and Rabago each added a run batted in on two hits in the win.
Haberman fell to 1-4 with the loss and Taasaas led the team with two RBI.
The series continues Saturday at 2:00 p.m.