After taking Friday night’s game 14-9 over UC Santa Barbara, the ’Eaters went on to fall to the Gauchos on both Saturday and Sunday, who went on to take the series 2-1.
UCSB 9, UCI 14
On Friday night at Caesar Uyesaka Field in Santa Barbara, UCI starter Andrew Thurman tossed just four innings, his shortest outing this season. Thurman gave up six runs on nine hits with three Ks, but would not be a factor in the decision.
UCI plated two runs in the top of the first, and the Gauchos answered in the second half of the inning with two runs of their own. Santa Barbara would go ahead at 3-2 in the second as the ’Eaters went scoreless after the first until the fifth as the scoreboard read 5-3 UCSB. The ’Eaters would then break it open in the sixth inning, scoring a total of seven runs for a 10-6 lead before Irvine added another four in the seventh. UCI would not score again, but it would be enough to take the series opener as the Gauchos brought in just three runs in the final three innings.
UCSB just edged the ’Eaters with 17 hits as Irvine recorded 15.
Evan Brock (2-1) got the win for Irvine, who pitched a shutout fifth inning before Mitch Merten took the mound in the sixth. Jimmy Litchfield threw the final 2.1 innings, giving up two runs and three hits while striking out two.
Third baseman Taylor Sparks led the ’Eaters, going 4-5 with three runs scored, two RBI and one round-tripper.
Shortstop Chris Rabago totaled four RBI in the contest, going 2-6 on the night.
UCSB 5, UCI 3
On Saturday afternoon in Santa Barbara, UCI was held scoreless through the first five innings before eventually dropping the game to the Gauchos after a 5-3 Santa Barbara final.
UCI pitcher Matt Whitehouse (4-5) was saddled with the loss after 6.2 innings before handing off the ball to Kyle Hooper.
Senior Scott Gottschling hit his second home run of his career.
However, Irvine would leave 12 runners stranded in the loss. UCSB topped the ’Eaters once again in hits as it totaled nine to Irvine’s five.
UCSB 7, UCI 6
Leading 5-4 going into the ninth, the ’Eaters plated a run in the top of the inning, but the Gauchos hit a two-run home run for the edge and the 7-6 win. The ’Eaters fall to a 29-15 overall record and are currently 11-7 in Big West play.
UCI now shares third place in conference with Cal Poly in conference standings, just behind Fullerton and Northridge.
Gottschling belted a two-run home run in the in the top of the fourth to get within one run at 3-2.
Sophomore Connor Spencer led the ’Eaters with three hits.
Starter Andrew Morales threw six innings while Litchfield tossed one and Race Parmenter (2-3) threw 1.2 innings.
Irvine will host USC on Tuesday, May 7 before hosting Cal Poly for a three-game series.