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Anteaters settle for split

College Baseball

Thurman flirts with no-hitter in Game 1 win, but Titans roar back to claim Game 2. Crucial finale Sunday.

April 14, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Thurman took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before giving up a base hit against Cal State Fullerton. UCI went on to win the first game of a doubleheader, 4-1.
UC Irvine pitcher Andrew Thurman took a no-hitter into… (STEVEN GEORGES )

IRVINE — The UC Irvine baseball team has yet to open any of its Big West Conference series on a Friday night this season. But for the first time in that stretch, they had a performance befitting a Friday-night starter on Saturday against visiting Cal State Fullerton.

Sophomore right-hander Andrew Thurman took a no-hitter into the ninth inning of a 4-1 triumph as the No. 12-ranked Titans managed just one hit against the Anteaters, who came in on a three-game conference losing streak.

Thurman, who came in 2-2 with a 4.39 earned-run average, struck out six and did not walk a batter. He faced one over the minimum (a third-inning infield error) before Austin Kingsolver tapped a soft chopper over the mound to open the ninth that second baseman Tommy Reyes changed to field, but threw late to first.

Jared Deacon followed with a walk and Richy Pedroza walked against reliever Jimmy Litchfield, prompting the call to closer Race Parmenter. Anthony Trajano hit into a 6-4 double play that plated a run and Michael Lorenzen grounded out to third to give UCI perhaps its most important win of the season.

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A loss would have dropped UCI three games behind the Titans, while also maintaining a void at the top of the starting rotation. The victory also renews a recent UCI tradition of winning its Big West series opener that had been interrupted last week at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. UCI has now won 26 of its last 27 conference series openers.

"Today was big," said Thurman, whose father, Tim, said his only no-hitter came as a 10-year-old Little Leaguer.

"It was pretty much a must-win game and a must-win series for us."

Thurman, who threw 65 of his 102 pitches for strikes, was staked to a 1-0 lead in the fifth when senior second baseman Tommy Reyes singled in Kris Paulino. Paulino singled to lead off the inning and, two outs later, D.J. Crumlich extended the rally with a single.

It was Reyes' first game since his older brother, Robby, a Marine Corps Cpl., was killed in a helicopter crash during a training exercise Wednesday in Morocco. There was a pregame moment of silence for the elder Reyes.

Paulino singled in a run to cap a two-run UCI fifth (both unearned against Fullerton starter Dylan Floro) and a sacrifice fly by Jeff Stephens gave the 'Eaters their final run in the seventh.

Thurman was bidding to become only the second pitcher to no-hit the Titans, who were last mastered in 1984 by future Major Leaguer Joe Magrane of Arizona.

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