UC Irvine put runs on the board early in a Tuesday evening contest at Tony Gwynn Stadium, and the San Diego State baseball team was never able to recover.
In an unconventional pitching matchup, two left-handed pitchers who had previously only been used as relievers made their first starts of the season, with freshman Brandon Thomas taking the hill for his first start at SDSU.
It wouldn’t go as planned, though, as the Anteaters wasted little time and started quickly with three first-inning runs by way of two walks and three singles.
The game would remain scoreless into the third inning, when Irvine struck again, putting up two runs against junior pitcher Travis Pitcher, who came on in relief of Thomas. It was 5-0 in favor of the Anteaters.
SDSU answered back in its half of the third. Freshman catcher Seby Zavala and junior first baseman John Spirk led the inning with consecutive singles and were subsequently advanced to second and third on a sacrifice bunt by freshman infielder Matt Munoz. Freshman outfielder Spencer Thornton would then ground out to shortstop and drive Zavala in. Thornton has driven in at least one run in four consecutive games.
The score remained 5-1 into the seventh, when UC Irvine padded its lead with an RBI single off sophomore right-handed reliever TJ Kendzora. The Aztecs responded with a single run of their own after senior Jomel Torres walked, advanced to second on a Zavala single and was driven in by a single to right field from Spirk.
It was 6-2 after seven innings, and that would be the final score as SDSU was held to six hits: two apiece for Zavala, Spirk and sophomore second baseman Tim Zier, who extended his current hitting streak to an impressive 17 games.
With the loss, the Aztecs fell to 20-26 on the season. The team will resume play at 6 p.m. tomorrow to take on UNLV at Tony Gwynn Stadium.