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College Roundup: Aggies blank Anteaters

UC Davis' Kupbens limits UCI to five hits to end Thurman's win streak at six straight starts.

May 25, 2012

DAVIS — UC Davis pitcher Anthony Kupbens threw a five-hit shutout to out-duel UC Irvine sophomore Andrew Thurman to give the host Aggies a 4-0 victory in the opening game of a Big West Conference three-game baseball series on Friday.

UCI (30-24, 12-10 in conference) did not post an extra-base hit and was blanked for the third time this season.

Senior first baseman Jordan Fox, junior left fielder Jeff Stephens and freshmen Jerry McClanahan, Connor Spencer and Taylor Sparks all had one hit for the visitors, who dropped the opener to a conference series for only the second time in their last 32 attempts.

The loss also snaps a streak of six straight starts won by Thurman, who had allowed just five earned runs and 20 hits in those starts, spanning 51 innings.

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But Thurman, who last lost on March 30 against Pacific, surrendered four runs, all earned, on six hits in six innings Friday. Thurman struck out five and walked two, while throwing 96 pitches. He finishes the season 8-3.

Thurman, attempting to be the fifth straight Big West Pitcher of the Year to wear a UCI uniform, entered the week with five wins in conference play, third-best in the conference. Thurman's conference ERA of 2.28 entering Friday ranked fourth in the Big West, while he topped conference pitchers in batting average against (.178) heading into his final start.

Kupbens, a senior left-hander who entered his final collegiate start with a 4-4 record this season, threw 115 pitches, 79 for strikes, to earn the victory. Kupbens struck out two and walked three.

Davis (26-29, 11-11) scored two runs in the first and again in the third for all it would need.

Junior third baseman Paul Politi went two for two with two runs batted in to pace the Aggies' seven-hit attack. Freshman designated hitter Nick Lynch was two for three with one RBI and two runs, while freshman right fielder Kevin Barker was two for four with an RBI.

Junior Mark Trentacosta and sophomore Mitch Merten combined for two scoreless relief innings for UCI, which will need to win Saturday and Sunday to avoid losing the fifth of its eight Big West series this season.

Senior Crosby Slaught (6-5) with a 3.48 earned-run average, will oppose Tom Briner (4-6, 3.81) on Saturday at 1 p.m. Slaught is attempting to earn his 23rd career victory as an Anteater.

UCI remains in sole possession of fourth place in conference.

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