In what proved to be a sensational pitching match-up, the UC Irvine Baseball team fell to UC Riverside in a 1-0 defeat on May 22 at Anteater Ballpark. In the second to last Big West Conference game of the season, UCI junior pitcher Glenn Swanson faced UCR senior pitcher John Martinez.
Martinez moved to 9-2 overall and kept the Highlanders’ (33-23, 11-9 Big West) postseason hopes alive by throwing a complete game, allowing only three hits and striking out seven.
UC Irvine fell to 33-18-1 overall and 9-11 in league play and can finish tied for fourth with a win on Sunday coupled with a Cal Poly win.
The only run in the game came in the eighth inning. UCR freshman infielder Kyle Barratt doubled and went to third on a bunt by senior catcher Jason Collette. Barratt then scored on a passed ball between the legs of UCI sophomore catcher Mark Wagner.
The run was the only smudge on a fine performance by Swanson. He retired the first 11 batters he faced before giving up a single to senior third baseman Tony Festa in the fourth inning. Swanson (6-3) went on to pitch seven innings, giving up three hits and striking out six but was nonetheless hit with the loss.
‘I felt good. I felt confident. All my pitches were working pretty well,’ Swanson said. ‘I just wanted to get out there and set the tempo, set the tone and let the defensive and offensive players feed off of that.’
The Anteaters found themselves with an opportunity to score in the ninth inning with sophomore infielder Matt Anderson singling to right field with only one out. Junior outfielder Jordan Szabo hit a fly ball into right that was caught by Riverside, putting the Anteaters at two outs. Freshman Cody Cipriano was the next batter up but struck out, closing the inning and sealing the victory for Riverside.
Cipriano commented on the pressure of his last at-bat, saying, ‘I wasn’t trying to do too much. I was just trying to extend the inning.’
‘Swanson was as impressive as he’s been all year,’ said Head Coach John Savage. ‘It’s just too bad that he had to lose that game because he’s pitched as well as I think he can.’
Savage believed, the Anteaters had several opportunities throughout the game. Savage believed, ‘We had a couple chances. We were one big hit away from putting up a run on the scoreboard. It’s such a well-pitched game by both guys. We had some hits but they just weren’t timely hits,’ Savage said.
‘We came out and we played hard and I thought we played well enough to w in,’ Swanson said. ‘We just didn’t get the breaks.’
Even with the loss, the Anteaters are still hoping for a bid to play in the NCAA Regionals from June 4 to 6.
‘It was a big game but we still have a shot to make the regionals,’ Cipriano said.