UC Irvine edges UC Santa Barbara
Slaught improves to 6-1 on season, leads Anteaters to victory
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. --- No. 18 UC Irvine edged UC Santa Barbara 4-2 to come away with the series sweep Sunday at Caesar Uyesaka Stadium. With the victory, the Anteaters climb to 34-13 overall and 13-5 in the Big West while the Gauchos fall to 21-24 overall and 6-12 in league action.
Starter Crosby Slaught gave the Anteaters six solid innings, holding UCSB to two runs on six hits while striking out five and walking two. Slaught improved to 6-1 on the season. Reliever Jimmy Litchfield made his third appearance of the series and dealt 1.2 shutout innings, striking out two and yielding a lone hit. Brian Hernandez earned his 10th save of the season after holding back a UCSB threat in the eighth and went on to pitch 1.1 innings of two-hit relief.
Offensively, Drew Hillman led UCI with three runs batted in. Sean Madigan led the team with three hits and drove in a run while Jordan Fox chipped in a pair of hits.
Madigan put the Anteaters on the board in the top of the third with a double to right to score Scott Gottschling, who had drawn a walk and taken second on the failed pickoff throw by starter Cameron Cuneo. The Gauchos lifted Cuneo for reliever Nick Laredo in the third and after Laredo retired Hernandez, Hillman hit a one-out sacrifice fly to drive in Crumlich from third to give the `Eaters a 2-0 lead.
Joe Wallace drove in UCSB's first run in the fourth with a hit through the left side to score Sean Williams from second base but Hillman delivered again in the UCI fifth, driving a full-count offering to left-field to score Crumlich and Hernandez, extending UCI's lead to 4-1.
The Gauchos trimmed the lead to two on a solo home run in the sixth by Mark Haddow. UCSB then put runners on first and third with two outs in the eighth but Hernandez induced a grounder to third to get the Anteaters out of the jam.
Cuneo fell to 1-1, making just his second start of the year and giving up two runs on two hit in two innings of work. Haddow led the Gauchos with three hits.