IRVINE, Calif. --- Andrew Morales was perfect through five innings and went on to post his first career complete-game shutout to lead UC Irvine to a 2-0 win over Grand Canyon Friday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
The right-hander held the Antelopes scoreless through five before giving up a single to right to Michael Pomeroy in the top of the sixth. Morales then walked Chris Lindmark and fielded a sacrifice bunt from Jon Kealoha as GCU put runners on second and third with one out. However, Morales battled by striking out David Walker and Paul Panaccione flew out to center, keeping the shutout bid intact.
Following the walk in the sixth, Morales faced just one over the minimum, yielding a lone single to Charles Wagner in the seventh and finished the game with 11 strikeouts to improve to 4-0 and lower his ERA to 0.62.
GCU starter Jorge Perez also gave the Antelopes a complete-game effort, pitching eight innings while holding UCI to two runs on four hits.
Perez struggled in the first, giving up a leadoff hit to Kris Paulino and then issuing consecutive base on balls to Taylor Sparks and Connor Spencer. Jerry McClanahan drove in what would be the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly to left to drive in Paulino.
Spencer sparked the Anteater third with a single up the middle and took second on a passed ball before advancing to third on the sacrifice bunt from McClanahan. Perez struck out Grant Palmer and then looked to be out of the inning after popping up Chris Rabago in foul territory. However, catcher Humberto Aranda was unable to snare the ball and Rabago capitalized on the dropped foul by delivering a clutch double to right to drive in Spencer and give UCI an insurance run.
Perez, fell to 1-5 with the hard-luck loss despite facing just one over the minimum in the final five frames.
The series continues Saturday at 1:00 p.m. with Elliot Surrey being opposed by Andrew Naderer.