IRVINE, Calif. – Sophomore right-hander Trenton Denholm scattered four hits over eight scoreless innings as UC Irvine clinched its three-game Big West Conference baseball series against Cal Poly with an 8-0 victory Saturday night on Cicerone Field inside Anteater Ballpark.
One day after Andre Pallante earned his eighth win in a 7-3 Anteater triumph, Denholm (8-3) picked up his eighth win by striking out 10 Mustangs and allowing just two walks.
The loss dropped Cal Poly two games behind first-place UC Santa Barbara in the race for the Big West title. The Gauchos improved to 14-3 in conference games with a 13-1 win at home over Long Beach State. UC Irvine climbed into a second-place tie with Cal Poly, both 12-5 in the conference.
Cal Poly, 23-25 overall, had just six baserunners in the game and was shut out for the fourth time this season.
UC Irvine struck for a run in the second inning, three in the third and two more in the fourth for a 6-0 lead. The Anteaters added two in the seventh off the Mustang bullpen.
Cal Poly fourth-year junior Bobby Ay (7-1) suffered his first loss of the year, allowing six runs and seven hits over five innings with two walks and five strikeouts. Ay was 7-0 with a 2.50 ERA over his last nine starts entering Saturday's game.
In his second relief appearance on the mound this week following a four-week absence from the weekend rotation due to an arm injury, Jarred Zill (pictured above) retired the side in order for the second time in a row and freshman Bryan Woo struck out the side in the eighth.
Back-to-back triples by Christian Koss and Mikey Filia tallied the first Anteater run in the second. Adrian Damla's two-run double highlighted the three-run third-inning rally and Brandon Lewis hit his 13th home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the fourth.
A Mustang error and a sacrifice fly by Koss accounted for the two runs in the seventh.
Lewis had three of UC Irvine's 10 hits while Damla and Koss both had two hits and a pair of RBIs.
The Mustangs were without the services of freshman designated hitter Conagher Sands, who sprained an ankle stepping on a baseball during batting practice. Sands, hitting .351 with a 21-game hitting streak, is listed as day to day.
Final game of the series will be played Sunday at 1 o'clock. Cal Poly will send sophomore southpaw Andrew Alvarez (1-2, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against UC Irvine junior right-hander Tanner Brubaker (5-2, 2.39 ERA).