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Summers breezes for UCI

Junior right-hander faces two over the minimum in a complete-game, two-hit shutout at UC Riverside.

May 20, 2011|By Barry Faulkner, barry.faulkner@latimes.com

RIVERSIDE — It was fitting, perhaps, that UC Irvine junior ace Matt Summers kept posting zeroes during his complete-game two-hitter in a 12-0 thumping of host UC Riverside that opened a three-game Big West Conference series Friday night.

Some believe Summers, who tied his career high with 10 strikeouts and threw 92 pitches in the Anteaters' first complete game of the season, continued to add to a now-consistent body of work that may help add a zero or two to a professional contract that looms after his selection in the June draft.

"I think he was spectacular," said UCI Coach Mike Gillespie, who has coached a few early-round picks in his 24 seasons as a Division I head coach, the first 20 at USC. "I think he made himself some money again. That's sort of back-to-back-to back [performances] that seem to be adding to his bank account.

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This has to be on the short list of the best [pitching performances] we have ever seen."

UCI (36-13, 14-5 in conference), ranked No. 16 in two national polls, pounded 18 hits and did not commit an error. The visitors amassed seven runs on 10 hits in three-plus innings against Highlanders' starter Matt Andriese, who came in with a 2.26 earned-run average.

It was the first time UCR has allowed more than nine runs this season and it was the seventh shutout for UCI this season.

Andriese was no match for Summers, who improved to 9-2 and has now won his last seven decisions. He has won seven of his last eight starts and, shoring up control problems that plagued him earlier, he has walked four in his last 40 innings. He lowered his ERA from 2.10 to 1.90 Friday and, in his last six starts, spanning 47 innings, his ERA is 1.34.

"He's a totally different pitcher now than was at the beginning of the season," Gillespie said. "I really believe it's a quantum leap in pitch ability and it has really happened over the last four to five weeks."

Summers spoke proudly of his continued development, but said a change in his throwing program this week also helped UCI extend its winning streak to six.

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