May 14, 2011
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. --- The freshman tandem of Andrew Thurman and Jimmy Litchfield provided stellar innings in relief and Ronnie Shaeffer delivered a key hit as No. 18 UC Irvine won the series against UC Santa Barbara with a 7-4 decision Saturday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium.
Thurman earned the win after 4.1 shutout innings, striking out three and giving up just a lone hit. The right-hander did not walk a batter before handing the ball off to Litchfield, who held the Gauchos scoreless in 1.2 shutout innings to pick up his second save. Starter Matt Whitehouse had the rare off-day on the mound, pitching three innings and giving up four runs on six hits in the no-decision.
Brian Hernandez and Tommy Reyes each had an RBI on two hits for UCI while Shaeffer drove in a team-leading two runs on one hits. D.J. Crumlich also registered an RBI on a squeeze bunt and Jordan Fox posted an RBI.
UCSB scored a pair of early runs in the first as Derek Eligio tripled to lead off the inning and scored the Gauchos' first run on a sacrifice fly to center by Sean Williams. Back-to-back two-out singles put runners on base for Joe Wallace who drove a pitch up the middle to drive in Mark Haddow, giving UCSB a 2-0 lead.
UCI answered with three runs in the third, capitalizing on a critical Gaucho error. Crumlich hit a one-out single and Madigan was hit by the pitch to put runners on first and second. Hernandez lined a single to left that got past Eligio and bounced to the wall, allowing the tying runs to score. Fox gave UCI the go-ahead run with a sharp single up the middle, to score Hernandez.
The Gauchos claimed a 4-2 lead in the fourth as Wallace delivered again with a two-run home run but the Anteaters struck back with three runs in the fifth. A leadoff hit by Hernandez, a base on balls issued to Drew Hillman and Fox, who was hit by the pitch, loaded the bases for UCI. Shaeffer gave the `Eaters the lead with a two-out hit up the middle to push across the game-tying and go-ahead runs and Reyes followed with a second single up the middle to score Fox from second, extending the team's lead to 6-4.
In the UCI eighth, Reyes worked a 3-1 walk and advanced to third on a failed pickoff by pitcher Bryce Uhrig. Crumlich laid down a two-strike bunt for the sacrifice as Reyes scored the final run of the game.
UCSB starter Matthew Vedo fell to 4-6 after giving up six runs on eight hits and striking out eight in 4.2 innings. Wallace led the Gauchos with thee RBI while going 2 for 4.
The series concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.