On Friday night at the University of the Pacific, Andrew Thurman led the Anteaters to an 8-4 victory at Klein Family field.
With a 0-0 standstill through three innings, the Anteater bats finally woke up in the fourth. Chris Rabago got it started with a single to get on base before Dominique Taylor knocked a single himself. Connor Spencer’s sacrifice bunt would advance the runners as Ronnie Shaeffer’s intentional walk loaded the bases. Taylor Sparks stepped up to the plate and delivered a single to drive in both Rabago and Taylor for a 2-0 lead. As Gottschling delivered a two-out flare, the runners would tag and score for a 4-0 lead going into the fifth.
With Mikey Duarte on base in the fifth, Rabago picked up an RBI followed by an RBI from Jerry McClanahan, who drove in Shaeffer in the sixth on a double to left.
Sparks added another RBI in the eighth as he doubled to bring in Spencer and went on to score on a wild pitch for an 8-1 advantage.
Thurman loaded the bases in the eighth right before the entrance of reliever Elliot Surrey, who gave up three in the outing for an 8-4 score.
Sam Moore entered the game in the same frame and induced a groundball to escape the Tiger threat, and Jimmy Litchfield dealt in the ninth to secure the win facing just three batters while striking out two.
Thurman improved to 4-3 after 7.2 innings, allowing just one run through seven innings, three runs in the seventh and six hits. Thurman struck out four.
Sparks led the ’Eaters, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. Gottschling drove in two runs on one hit as Rabago and Mclanahan both recorded two hits and contributed an RBI each.
Despite a season-high 22 hits, UCI suffered a 14-13 loss on Saturday afternoon to the UoP Tigers. Down by as many as seven, Irvine came close to taking the first two games of the Big West series but would come up short.
Sparks led the ’Eaters and went 5-for-5, a career-best, as he totaled three RBI. With three hits of his own, Taylor added four RBI to pace Irvine and scored four runs. Spencer and Shaeffer contributed three hits in the effort.
UCI got off to a fast start, as Rabago tripled to right and would score on a sacrifice fly from Taylor. Shaeffer reached second safely on a double and would score on a single by Sparks. UCI took an early and promising 2-0 lead.
With Whitehouse on the mound, UoP tied the game in the second, but the ’Eaters took the lead back in the third for a 4-2 advantage. Taylor took second base on a UoP error, and McClanahan delivered a two-out RBI for the two-run lead.
After a perfect third inning for Whitehouse, the bases were loaded in the fourth. Merten entered and gave up a two-run single before the Tigers drove in a three-run homer. UoP broke loose and followed the round-tripper with a double that drove in a run, and another three-run jack off of Jimmy Litchfield. The Tigers posted nine runs in the inning for an 11-4 lead.
Litchfield relinquished the mound to Phillip Ferragamo in the fifth as the junior took control and threw two scoreless innings. UCI scored a run in the fifth and caught fire in the seventh.
With Spencer on base in the seventh, Shaeffer doubled, Sparks singled and McClanahan brought the ’Eaters to within four at 11-7.
The Tigers would not go silent in the bottom half of the inning and added three runs to their significant lead for a 14-7 advantage.
Unrelenting, Irvine answered and eventually brought the score to 14-12 before the final frame.
With men on the corners in the top of the ninth, Shaeffer and Sparks were both hit by the pitch, forcing a UCI run across the plate. The Tigers would not let another run score, as pitcher Patrick Weigel induced a double play to end the game with a final score of 14-13.
Giving up five runs on four hits, Whitehouse threw 3.1 innings and fell to 3-4 on the season. Merten gave up four runs on three hits, and Litchfield gave up two runs on two hits. Ferragamo gave up three runs on three hits, and Kyle Hooper pitched a shutout eighth inning.
With Andrew Morales on the mound on Sunday, UC Irvine would take the series with a 1-0 finish in the final game in Stockton. Morales improved to a perfect and impressive 9-0 on the season after pitching a career-high 8.1 innings to extend his scoreless streak to 22.2 innings. Race Parmenter entered with one out in the ninth and struck out 2/2 on four pitches each for his seventh save this season.
The first and only run of the game was plated by Dominique Taylor, who drove in Mikey Duarte on a single up the left side.
Men’s Track and Field
At the Beach Invitational on Saturday, April 20 at Cerritos College, senior Sam Hyams had the best finish for the ’Eaters, as he finished second out of 105 competitors in the 1500 meters with a season-best 3:46.21 finish.
In the 5,000 meters, Anteater Matt Neev placed seventh out of 35 competitors with a final time of 15:07.23.
In the pole vault, teammates Nick Jennings and Stephen Brown tied for ninth place with a 15-11 3/4 mark.
Mason Miller had an 11th place finish in the shot put with a mark of 54-8 1/4.
The Anteaters compete next at the Adidas/Steve Scott Invitational this upcoming Saturday and Sunday at Anteater Stadium.
With a perfect 7-0 Big West record, the UCI women’s tennis team finished the regular season 20-3.
Irvine has earned the No. 1 seed for the Big West Tournament that will open play on Thursday, April 25. UCI opens play on Friday, April 26 at 8 a.m. against either Pacific or Cal Poly. Sunday’s action will begin at 12 p.m.