Sophomore righty Cory Lewis tossed seven clean innings Friday night as No. 10 UCSB (32-10, 20-2) picked up its first shutout of the season, a 2-0 win over reigning champ UC Irvine (25-18, 10-9). The Gauchos have now won 13-straight Big West games.
Cory Lewis (7-0) earned the start and the win for the Gauchos, tossing seven shutout innings and allowing just one hit while striking out five. He would face just four more batters than the minimum, scattering four walks, but kept the Anteaters at bay stranding four on the basepaths.
Getting a six-out save, his fifth of the year, was righty Matt Ager, who completed the shutout for UCSB.
The Gauchos collected seven hits and five walks in the game led by Kyle Johnson going 2-for-3 with a walk and a run. Nick Vogt collected a pair of hits as well, going 2-for-4 with a double, which was one of just two extra-base hits of the game for UCSB.
Jordan Sprinkle had a single, a walk, two stolen bases and a run.
Christian Kirtley extended his on base streak to 30 games and Bryce Willits extended his streak to 28 games. Vogt extended his hit streak to 16 games, improving his team-best mark.
The Gauchos got baserunners aboard in each of the first four innings, including a bases-loaded, one-out look, but the Anteaters continued to get out of the jams. It wasn’t till the top of the fifth that UCSB finally broke through as Sprinkle singled, stole second and then stole third simultaneously with a Johnson walk. Sprinkle then scored on a Jason Willow sac-fly to make it 1-0 in what would be the difference maker in the pitching duel.
Then, in a huge spot, it was freshman Aaron Parker pinch-hitting for Blake Klassen and taking a 2-0 ball deep to center field and nearly leaving the yard, but instead going off the wall for a stand-up RBI triple. It was the first RBI and extra-base hit of his career and second career hit as he put his team up 2-0.
Lewis was absolutely dealing, tossing seven one-hit, shutout innings and getting out of a few jams himself. He would exit the contest after walking the lead-off batter in the eighth. Ager entered and closed the book on Lewis, retiring three straight batters in the inning.
UCI had runners on the corners with two outs in the ninth, and in an 0-2 count the Gauchos drew up a pitchout. It worked beautifully, as catcher Gianni Bloom fired down to second to Nick Oakley, who applied the tag to end the game.
Daniel Moebus-Bowles writes about sports for UCSB.