'Eaters fizzle in loss to UCLA

IRVINE — Just like his teammate on Sunday, UC Irvine starting pitcher Evan Brock gathered himself following a rocky first inning to mow down a string of opposing hitters.

But unlike Crosby Slaught, whose stabilizing act was later rewarded by an offensive outburst and a victory, the only fireworks to make an appearance later Monday night against UCLA were those in the postgame pyrotechnic show.

The result was a 6-2 nonconference triumph for the No. 9-ranked visitors, who scored three in the first inning, then waited to expand upon their lead against UCI relievers.

Including the final out of the first inning, Brock set down 13 consecutive Bruins before exiting after five innings. The loss was Brock's first of the season in two decisions.

UCLA (39-14), then scored one in the seventh and two in the eighth to end UCI's home season on a sour note. The fireworks show was part of fan-appreciation night with 1,750 in attendance.

UCI (30-23), which closes out its Big West Conference schedule with a three-game series beginning Friday at UC Davis, is playing out the string after having competed in the NCAA regionals each of the previous six seasons.

The Anteaters managed seven hits off four UCLA pitchers, including five in six innings against starter Grant Watson, who improved to 9-2.

Freshman catcher Chris Rabago hit his first collegiate home run in the third inning and senior shortstop D.J. Crumlich doubled in a run in the ninth. Crumlich, a four-year starter playing his final home game, went two for four.

Senior second baseman Tommy Reyes, who along with Crumlich, Jordon Fox and Christian Ramirez will exhaust their eligibility this weekend, went two for four.

UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, who was denied his 200th victory in five seasons at the Anteaters' helm, said the game was a continuation of a season full of aggravation.

"It's very frustrating and it's been a year of 5-4 losses," Gillespie said. "Just woulda, coulda, shoulda, didn't. It has been a real frustrating year, But I like our guys. I have no problem with effort and make-up and work ethic and attitude. That's all good, so I'm not hating life. I'm hating the losses, but I'm not hating this team. I like these guys."

Gillespie said Brock, who sat out 2011 after undergoing shoulder surgery, has been coming on in the last month of the season.

"[Brock] did all right tonight and we're going to start him again on Sunday," Gillespie said.

Sophomore Andrew Thurman is scheduled to start the series opener at Davis on Friday. Thurman, making a bid to become the fifth straight Big West Pitcher of the Year from UCI, has won his last six starts. During that streak, spanning 51 innings, , Thurman has allowed 20 hits and surrendered only five earned runs for an earned-run average of 0.88.

UCLA, coached by former Anteaters head man John Savage, was paced offensively by second baseman Trevor Brown and shortstop Pat Valaika. Brown was two for four with two doubles and three RBIs, while Valaika was two for four with two RBIs.


Twitter: @BarryFaulkner5



UCLA 6, UC Irvine 1


UCLA 300 000 120 – 6 10 2

UCI 001 000 001 – 2 7 1

Watson, Poole (7), Berg (8) and Heineman; Brock. Trentacosta (6), Litchfield (8), Merten (9) and Rabago. W – Watson, 9-2. L – Brock, 1-1. 2B – Brown (UCLA) 2, Sparks (UCI), Crumlich (UCI), Carroll (UCLA). HR – Rabago (UCI).

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