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.
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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NCAA West prelims
AUSTIN, Texas — UC Irvine senior Charles Jock advanced to the NCAA Championships in the 800 meters following the quarterfinals at the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Friday.
Jock had a time of 1 minute, 47.93 seconds in his heat at Mike A. Myers Stadium Friday to earn a berth in the NCAA Championships June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa, where the semifinals and final will be held.
Jock finished second in his heat to UC Santa Barbara's Ryan Martin (1:47.79). Jock and Martin have the top two times in the U.S. this season at 1:44.75 and 1:44.77, respectively, that they ran at the Big West Championships May 12 when Jock was first and Martin runner-up.
Jock, a two-time All-American, finished second in last year's NCAA 800 final with a time of 1:44.75 in Des Moines.
Missouri's Ricky West recorded Friday's fastest 800 time of 1:46.65. The top three finishers in each of the three heats, plus the next three-fastest times, advanced to Des Moines.
UCI senior Jacob Yowell finished third in his first-round heat of the 110 high hurdles with a time of 14.12 to advance to Saturday's quarterfinals in Austin (5:05 p.m. PT).Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun