The UC Irvine Baseball team took on the Patriots of Dallas Baptist University on March 6 for their last game of the series.
The Anteaters completed the sweep on Saturday, bringing their record to 9-6 while Dallas Baptist fell to 7-8.
The series against the Patriots was a complete turnaround from the four consecutive losses the Anteaters had amassed going into Thursday’s game.
But learning from your mistakes was a dominant factor in the clubhouse as UCI took care of Dallas Baptist 7-2.
Senior pitcher Nash Robertson gave the Anteaters three innings with only four hits allowed, giving up no runs, and earning the win.
Robertson’s stellar pitching led the way for UCI’s first run in the second, and he earned his victory in the top of the third when he shut down the Patriots when they were threatening with the bases loaded and two out.
Robertson had just as many strikeouts as hits, four, and started the game right for the Anteaters.
Dallas Baptist’s starting pitcher Rodney Brantley got hit hard in the fourth as the Anteaters jumped out 4-0 after a barrage of doubles and never relinquished control of the game.
In that inning, UCI freshman right fielder/relief pitcher Bryan Petersen started off the inning with a double high off the right field wall.
After a sacrifice bunt got Peterson to third, the Anteaters took out their big sticks as senior second baseman Brett Dalton, senior outfielder Danny Miramontes, and junior catcher Mark Wagner all hit successive doubles and gave the fans something to really cheer about: some offense that hadn’t yet been seen in the series against the Patriots.
Wagner, who went a perfect five-for-five from the plate, driving in three, and defensively catching two runners trying to steal, led the Anteaters both offensively and defensively.
Wagner said that he and his coaches were out early today working on his swing and his timing, and it obviously paid off.
‘I saw it well and I threw it well,’ Wagner said. ‘The pitchers help a lot because they get it to home plate quickly, so if I can throw it near the bag, the shortstop can pick him off.’
Wagner was hitting .283 going into the game, and after Wagner was up to .345.
Doubles seemed to be an Anteater theme Saturday as they ended up with a total of five offensive doubles and two defensive double plays.
After losing four straight games, UCI was gaining momentum again.
‘We hit a little bit of a skid,’ said UCI Head Coach Dave Serrano. ‘We’ll take it. This game of baseball is all about momentum and confidence, and hopefully we’ll learn from our past about how to be successful.’
Wagner agreed with Serrano, who told him to ‘not give up, keep trying hard and keep competing and things will turn themselves around.’
The Patriots really seemed to show their frustration in the fifth inning when, first in the top half, Dallas Baptist’s second baseman Matt Ritter got thrown out for arguing about whether he was safe after Wagner caught him stealing.
Then in the bottom half of the inning, Dallas Baptist pitcher Barrett Pliler got tossed for arguing a call.
Serrano said a few words about the upcoming Big West schedule although at some urging, as he doesn’t like looking that far in advance.
‘We have almost a month to get prepared for what is the most important part of the year, which is the Big West,’ Serrano said. ‘We know that it will be a challenge like it will be each and every year, and we just have to be worried about ourselves and play the way we’re capable of playing.’
The Anteaters next face San Diego State at home on March 8 at 6 p.m. at Anteater Ballpark.
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