Anteaters settle for split

IRVINE — The UC Irvine baseball team has yet to open any of its Big West Conference series on a Friday night this season. But for the first time in that stretch, they had a performance befitting a Friday-night starter on Saturday against visiting Cal State Fullerton.

Sophomore right-hander Andrew Thurman took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a 4-1 triumph as the No. 12-ranked Titans managed just one hit against the Anteaters, who came in on a three-game conference losing streak.

Thurman, who came in 2-2 with a 4.39 earned-run average, struck out six and did not walk a batter. He faced one over the minimum (a third-inning infield error) before Austin Kingsolver tapped a soft chopper over the mound to open the ninth that second baseman Tommy Reyes changed to field, but threw late to first.

Jared Deacon followed with a walk and Richy Pedroza walked against reliever Jimmy Litchfield, prompting the call to closer Race Parmenter. Anthony Trajano hit into a 6-4 double play that plated a run and Michael Lorenzen grounded out to third to give UCI perhaps its most important win of the season.

A loss would have dropped UCI three games behind the Titans, while also maintaining a void at the top of the starting rotation. The victory also renews a recent UCI tradition of winning its Big West series opener that had been interrupted last week at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. UCI has now won 26 of its last 27 conference series openers.

"Today was big," said Thurman, whose father, Tim, said his only no-hitter came as a 10-year-old Little Leaguer.

"It was pretty much a must-win game and a must-win series for us."

Thurman, who threw 65 of his 102 pitches for strikes, was staked to a 1-0 lead in the fifth when senior second baseman Tommy Reyes singled in Kris Paulino. Paulino singled to lead off the inning and, two outs later, D.J. Crumlich extended the rally with a single.

It was Reyes' first game since his older brother, Robby, a Marine Corps Cpl., was killed in a helicopter crash during a training exercise Wednesday in Morocco. There was a pregame moment of silence for the elder Reyes.

Paulino singled in a run to cap a two-run UCI fifth (both unearned against Fullerton starter Dylan Floro) and a sacrifice fly by Jeff Stephens gave the 'Eaters their final run in the seventh.

Thurman was bidding to become only the second pitcher to no-hit the Titans, who were last mastered in 1984 by future Major Leaguer Joe Magrane of Arizona.

"Fastball," Thurman said of what was going well for him Saturday. "The fastball was well and the changeup. I threw the curve every once in a while to show it to them. The fastball in and out really kept them off-balance, I guess."

Said UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, who notched his 950th career Division I victory in the opener: "[Thurman] was really good. His location with really all three pitches was good. I was happy with what he did."

In the second game, the Titans amassed 18 hits to claim a 13-2 victory that places supreme importance on Sunday's series finale (2 p.m., also televised on ESPNU).

Fullerton is 22-12, 6-2 in conference, while UCI takes an 18-13, 4-4 mark into Sunday's finale.

"Critical, critical, there's no debate about it," Gillespie said of Sunday's rubber game. "It's critical. It's critical. Our path into the playoffs is to win the conference, and maybe as a second-place team with a real strong finish [such as] a win like the first game today."

Gillespie also said the lopsided nature of the Game 2 loss washed away most of the good feeling created by the Game 1 win.

"I guess some people like doubleheaders, but I don't like them," Gillespie said. "I don't have numbers to support this, but I think more doubleheaders get split than swept. And the team that wins the second game feels better than the team that won the first one."

Crumlich went two for four in the second game, while Fox, Ramirez and Paulino each had two hits in Game 1.

Reyes and Fox drove in runs in Game 2.

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5


Big West Conference

Game 2

Cal State Fullerton 13, UC Irvine 2


CSF 173 000 002 – 13 18 2

UCI 000 002 000 – 2 7 0

Mathews, Peitzmeier (8) and Wallach; Slaught, Hoover (4), Trentacosta (3), Brock (6), Moore (9) and Rabago. W – Matthews, 4-0. L – Slaught, 3-3. 2B – Chapman (CSF), Lopez (CSF), Wallach (CSF), Lorenzen (CSF) Crumlich (UCI), Rabago (UCI), Fox (UCI). 3B – Williamson (CSF).


Game 1

UC Irvine 4, Cal State Fullerton 1


CSF 000 000 001 – 1 1 1

UCI 000 012 10x – 4 8 1

Floro, Peitzmeier (7), DeLaFuente (8) and Deacon; Thurman. Litchfield (9), Parmenter (9) and McClanahan. W – Thurman, 3-2. L – Floro, 5-2. Sv – Parmenter (4).

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