IRVINE, Calif. – The UC Santa Barbara baseball team did three better than Cal State Fullerton and four better than Long Beach State, but in the end, scored as many runs off of UC Irvine's Andrew Thurman as the other two Big West first place teams did.
The Gauchos had four hits against the Anteaters ace on Friday night, who allowed just one to CSUF and no-hit LBSU, but couldn't push across any runs in a 2-0 defeat.
Thurman pitched his third complete game in a row, allowing those four hits and walking three, but whenever the Gauchos threatened, the sophomore took control.
UCSB had runners on third base in four separate innings - and a runner on second in another - and couldn't break through against the right-handed Thurman, who ran his record to 6-2, lowered his ERA to 2.33 and helped UCI improve to 25-17 overall and 9-7 in the Big West. UCSB falls to 23-20 and 9-7 in conference play.
The Anteaters, Gauchos and Cal Poly - a 5-4 loser to UC Davis - are all tied for third place in the Big West.
Kevin Gelinas, making his first weekend start since Feb. 24 at San Jose State, was stellar in his first three innings and was only touched for Irvine's two runs in the fifth, but it was enough to deal the senior lefty his first loss of the season. Gelinas worked out of a bases loaded, one-out jam in the fourth only to see Irvine load the bases again after eking out a 1-0 lead.
This time, however, Connor Spencer lined a ball to center field which scored a run but a beautiful throw from Brett Vertigan nailed Jordan Fox trying to score from second to keep the game close at 2-0.
After putting runners on third in each of the first two innings only to see Thurman batton down the hatches, the Gauchos tried to get something going in the sixth after UCI scored its two runs.
Brandon Trinkwon drew a two-out walk and moved to third on Joey Wallace's single. Wallace eventually stole second and Greg Mahle came mere inches away from tying the game with a slicing line drive down the left field line that just went foul. Thurman eventually struck Mahle out to end the threat.
UCSB will send Andrew Vasquez (6-3, 1.74 ERA) to the mound for a 1 p.m. game on Saturday before finishing off the series with a 2 p.m. first pitch on Sunday. Both games can be heard live online by clicking here, with the pregame show starting a half-hour prior to first pitch. Sunday's game will be shown on ESPNU.
Following Saturday's game, the Gauchos will hold a Huddle just off the UC Irvine campus. All fans are encouraged to attend. For more information, please click here.