No. 20 Anteaters Score Early, Blank No. 19 UCSB To Complete Sweep
IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine batted around in the first, scoring five runs in the inning and never looked back, handing 19th-ranked UC Santa Barbara an 8-0 loss Sunday to sweep the series and improve to 32-14 overall and 14-1 in the Big West.
UCI extended its win streak to seven games and posted its seventh shutout of the year behind starter Evan Brock, who pitched seven innings of four-hit baseball. The right-hander struck out four and walked two to climb to 8-3 on the year. Matt Fielding and Jimmy Litchfield held the Gauchos hitless in an inning apiece to preserve the shutout win.
Grant Palmer jumped on starter Shane Bieber in the first with a single to right and was sacrificed to second by Chris Rabago. Connor Spencer put UCI on the board with a clean hit and came around to score on a double by Taylor Sparks. Jonathan Munoz followed by slapping a double down the left-field line to give the 'Eaters a 2-0 lead. Bieber was unable to settle in and hit Jerry McClanahan with the pitch. Obstruction then was called on first baseman Tyler Kuresa, advancing the runners one base, and Adam Alcantara singled in Munoz with McClanahan scoring on the fielding error by Scott Quinlan as UCI took a 5-0 advantage.
The duo of Palmer and Rabago kicked off a UCI rally in the second with both batters drawing a base on balls against reliever Kenny Chapman. Spencer struck again, this time with a double to the left-centerfield wall for his second run-scoring hit in as many at-bats. Munoz was hit by the pitch to load the bases with one out and McClanahan hit a fly-ball to center that would drive in Rabago as the 'Eaters built a 7-0 lead.
Rabago tacked a run on in the eighth with a sacrifice to left to cashing in a walk drawn by pinch-hitter Andrew Martinez.
Spencer went 2 for 5 with two RBI and a run scored while Palmer scored twice while posting a pair of hits.