Thurman delivers no-no this time

LONG BEACH — UC Irvine sophomore pitcher Andrew Thurman needed only six days to work out the kink.

The Anteaters' right-hander polished off a no-hitter in a 4-0 Big West Conference baseball victory over Long Beach State on Friday in front of 1,266 at Blair Field. Just six days before, his no-hit bid against Cal State Fullerton ended with a bounding infield single behind the mound.

Friday, Thurman hit the leadoff batter, then retired 23 straight, before issuing his only walk with two outs in the eighth. But he set down the next four to complete the fifth no-hitter in UCI history.

It was the second no-hitter in UCI's last four games against the Dirtbags. Matt Summers no-hit Long Beach in the opener of the final regular-season series last season on May 27 at UCI.

Thurman has now allowed one hit in his last 17 innings, spanning his last two starts. He struck out five, walked one, hit one and used 110 pitches to improve to 4-2.

"Last week, was a good week on Saturday," Thurman said, his voice quivering with excitement. "Going onto this week, I just wanted to try and do the same things, and, you know, try not to change anything. We know Long Beach is a good club. I just wanted to go out and throw my game.

"We played great defense behind me," said Thurman, who was mobbed by teammates at the center of the diamond after Matt Duffy popped out to shortstop D.J. Crumlich for the final out. [Center fielder] Christian Ramirez made some great plays out there. And [third baseman] Taylor Sparks made some phenomenal plays. All around, we played well."

Thurman said his fastball, just like last week, was his go-to pitch.

UCI opened the scoring in the second inning, when sophomore second baseman Dillon Moyer bounced an RBI single through the shortstop hole to score freshman Kris Paulino.

Freshman Chris Rabago lifted a sacrifice fly to center to plate Connor Spencer in the sixth, doubling the lead for the visitors (20-14, 5-5 in conference).

UCI tacked on a pair of runs in the ninth when Ramirez doubled to start the frame and senior first baseman Jordan Fox followed with a triple. Fox later scored on a 3-2 squeeze bunt by junior Scott Gottschling.

Ramirez was three for five to pace the visitors' eight-hit attack.

Long Beach (16-19, 7-3) came closest to a hit in the seventh inning, when Duffy led off with a line drive that the 6-foot-4 Sparks leaped and caught even with the bag. Sparks charged and deftly fielded a bunt to nail leadoff man Jeff McNeil with two outs in the sixth. McNeil, hit by Thurman to open the first, was the only Dirtbag to reach second base.

Thurman said last week's near-no-hitter helped him push through on Friday. Also, being removed from the game against Fullerton after issuing a walk that followed the hit, he was determined not to falter against the Dirtbags.

"Before I went out [for the ninth, UCI Coach Mike Gillespie] told me if anyone got on, he would pull me, so I was trying to not let anyone get on," Thurman said.

Thurman's performance solidified his status as a Friday night ace and gave UCI its 27th win in its last 28 Big West series openers.

"It's nice to be able to go out and throw on the weekends and give my team a chance to win each and every weekend," Thurman said. "And, knowing this series means a lot to us … We need all the wins we can get."

Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5


Big West Conference

UC Irvine 4, Long Beach State 0


UCI 010 001 002 – 4 8 0

LBSU 000 000 000 – 0 0 1

Thurman and Rabago; Anderson, Hunt (7), Magallon (8), Frye (9) and Hoime. W – Thurman, 4-2. L – Anderson, 3-2. 2B – Ramirez (UCI). 3B – Fox (UCI).

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