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Cal bests UCI in opener

February 04, 2006|By By Barry Faulkner

UCI records first hit with two outs in the eighth in 6-2 nonconference setback to visiting Bears.IRVINE -- UC Irvine baseball coach Dave Serrano said after Friday's season-opening 6-2 loss to Cal that his team was still searching for its identity, as well as a productive lineup.

With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning Friday, the Anteaters were still searching for their first hit.

Cal junior right-hander Brandon Morrow, a third-team preseason All-American, pitched a perfect six innings against UCI's lineup.

Morrow finally exited in the seventh, after a hit batter and a walk. The no-hitter remained intact until the eighth, when Jeff Werhun lined a two-out single into right field off Jeremy Burchett.

Werhun's hit was followed by singles from Tyler Vaughn and Bryan Peterson. Peterson's liner to right field drove in two runs, but he was thrown out at second.

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Morrow struck out six of the first seven he faced, and nine of the first 12. He finished with a career-high 12 strikeouts.

"He has a plus-plus arm and his fastball was exploding out of his hand," Serrano said. "His fastball looked straight from where I was standing, but we obviously had trouble picking it up."

The Anteaters went down in order until Orloff took a pitch off his left arm with one out in the seventh. After Brock Bardeen followed with a walk, Esquer lifted Morrow after 87 pitches.

"The number of pitches he threw, for this time of year, that's enough," Esquer said. "He's just an outstanding talent who has an unbelievable future ahead of him. You only get those types of arms once in awhile, so I'm not about to take any chances with him."

Morrow outdueled Justin Cassel, who surrendered five runs in the first inning before settling down. Cassel allowed only two hits over the next four innings before exiting.

UCI received a solid relief outing from Gary Nakashima, who came in with runners at the corners and one out in the sixth and struck out the next two hitters to end the threat. Nakashima went 3 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run and two hits.

The series continues tonight at 6, with UCI freshman Scott Gorgen scheduled to start against Cal's Michael Cooper.

Nonconference

California 6, UC Irvine 2

Score by Innings

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