Gillingham Tosses Complete-Game Shutout, Lions Best No. 14 UCI 4-0

March 19, 2011

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LOS ANGELES, Calif. - Junior Alex Gillingham tossed a complete-game shutout as LMU (13-7) defeated No. 14 UC Irvine (13-2) by a count of 4-0 on Saturday in the first game of a doubleheader at Page Stadium. Gillingham, who improved to 3-2 on the year, tossed 130 pitches (86 strikes) en route to the first complete-game shutout for the Lions since Martin Viramontes shut out Saint Mary's on May 2, 2010.

Gillingham finished the game with a career-best 11 strikeouts and walked just one while allowing three hits. He retired 17 straight from two out in the first through one out in the seventh. For Gillingham, the complete game was the second of the year and of his career, as he tossed eight in a loss to UC Riverside on February 19. The right-hander had tossed eight innings in each of his previous four starts this year.

Freshman Bret Dahlson was one of three players with two hits for LMU in game one, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored, a double and a RBI. Evan Simonitsch also had two hits, batting 2-for-4 with a RBI, while Jonathan Johnson went 2-for-5 with a RBI-double.

Brian Hernandez was really the only Irvine hitter to get to Gillingham, going 2-for-3 with a walk. Drew Hillman recorded the only other hit of the game for UCI. Andrew Thurman went four innings as the starter, allowing three runs (two earned) on seven hits and five walks en route to being tagged with the loss to fall to 1-1. Phillip Ferragamo went the final four innings in relief, allowing a run on four hits while striking out two.

The Lions struck first in the second inning, but hand a handful of missed opportunities early, stranding seven runners through three innings. Alex Guthrie reached on an error charged to Thurman before a walk to Colton Plaia set the table for a RBI-double into the left field corner off the bat of Dahlson. LMU went on to load the bases before Plaia tried to tag up on a shallow fly ball to left field that resulted in a double play to end the frame.

Just as they did in the second, LMU loaded the bases with one out but could not do anything with the situation as Alex Guthrie struck out and Plaia flew out to centerfield to end the frame. LMU loaded the bases in the seventh inning of Friday's game as well, but a pair of strikeouts ended that threat en route to a 5-2 loss.

The Lions cashed-in on the RBI-opportunities in the fourth, plating two runs to push the advantage to 3-0. Dahlson led things off with a single before moving to second on a sacrifice bunt. After a wild pitch moved the runner to third and drew the infield in on the grass, Johnson doubled past the bag at first base to plate the first run. With Matt Koch at the plate, Johnson was caught stealing for the second out of the inning. The Lion designated hitter later worked a walk to start a two-out rally, moving to second on a clean single to right field. Simonitsch came up clutch on the ensuing play, lining a single into centerfield to bring home Koch and the Lions' third run of the game.

The Anteaters managed to snap a string of 17 straight retired from Gillingham in the top of the seventh as Hernandez drew a one-out walk, but the right-hander kept the visitors off the board by stranding a pair of baserunners to maintain the 3-0 lead.

LMU pushed the lead to 4-0 with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Hawthorne reached with a one-out single before moving to third on a base hit to right centerfield from Guthrie. Ahead in the count 2-0, Plaia lined a RBI-single in front of Christian Ramirez in centerfield to chase home Hawthorne and capped the scoring.

Gillingham wrapped-up the complete-game shutout after allowing one hit in the ninth and stranding the fifth and final Irvine runner.

The two teams will complete the three-game series later today in the second game of the doubleheader.




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