Freshman Pitching, Clutch Hits Give No. 18 UC Irvine Series Win Over UCSB

Freshman Pitching, Clutch Hits Give No. 18 UC Irvine Series Win Over UCSB

May 14, 2011

Box Score

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.

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