The UC Irvine Anteaters defeated the No. 13 Cal State University, Long Beach 49ers 4-3 on April 9.
The Anteaters fought hard and brought in the final run during the 11th inning in what seemed like an endless game at Anteater Ballpark.
The Anteaters’ senior pitcher Nash Robertson started off the 11th inning quickly by striking out 49ers’ shortstop Troy Tulowitzki as well as outfielder Sean Boatright. Robertson finished off the top of the 11th by striking out CSULB’s Chris Jones for the final out.
Then came the bottom of the 11th, when the Anteaters were able to squeeze in the final run for the victory over the Dirtbags. Though they took the inning, the Anteaters started with the strikeouts of outfielder junior Erik Johnson and sophomore pinch hitter Cody Cipriano.
Then came the moment of hope for UCI with a hard hit to deep right field by first baseman junior Jaime Martinez. Junior Tim Wojcik followed Martinez’s example by also hitting one to right field, which allowed him to get to first base while advancing Martinez to second.
Next up was senior infielder Brett Dalton who was able to get the bases loaded, followed by the final batter for UCI, freshman outfielder Ollie Linton.
Pressure on Linton formulated quickly as he found himself with a full count, two outs, and the bases loaded. It seemed that everything depended on one last swing by Linton, but three foul balls later he was still at the plate.
CSULB’s pitcher Steve Hammond delivered the final pitch to Linton that was ruled as a ball, allowing freshman Bryan Petersen, who earlier subbed in for Martinez, to walk in for the game-winning run.
‘We battled all day,’ said senior infielder Gregg Wallis after the victory. ‘In the 11th we put together a little rally and we never gave up.’
The Anteaters held up pretty well earlier in the day, keeping the scored tied at 0-0 at the end of the first inning. Anteater sophomore pitcher Justin Cassel let only one slip by him in the first inning and kept the Anteaters strong throughout almost nine complete innings.
However, things were getting tougher for the Anteaters in the second inning when the Dirtbags were able to get in two runs. Cassel started off the inning by pitching to CSULB’s Boatright who got a piece of the ball that went deep into center field placing him at first.
Boatright went on to steal second base after a few pitches to CSULB’s Jones. Jones then got a piece of one that slipped by UCI’s Martinez and allowed Boatright to claim the first run of the game. Jones later came in for the second run after a hit by CSULB’s designated hitter Jordan Struble.
The Anteaters finished off the second inning at 2-0 in favor of Long Beach State.
The Anteaters caught their first break in the sixth inning. UCI quickly eliminated CSULB’s chances to score any runs with sharp fielding and strong pitching by Cassel. First up at bat in the bottom of the sixth was Dalton, who hit a groundball to center field allowing him to get to first.
Next was Linton who bunted the ball and was out at first, but allowed Dalton to advance to second. Dalton was able to go home and score the first run for UCI after a hit to right field by junior infielder Matt Anderson.
The next break for UCI came in the bottom of the eighth with Dalton bringing in another run. Dalton started at bat and made it to second. Once again a bunt by Linton was able to advance Dalton to third. Finally, an RBI by junior outfielder Danny McCarthy brought in Dalton for the second run tying up UCI and CSULB at 2-2.
Both teams gained a run in the 10th inning, bringing them to a 3-3 tie. CSULB’s Steve Velazco hit a groundball that allowed him to get to first in the 10th.
Later, Velazco was able to make his way past second and steal third. Finally the Dirtbags’ third baseman Evan Longoria was able to bring Velazco home putting the game at 3-2 in favor of CSULB.
For UCI, Wojcik brought in the final run after pinch running for R.J. Brown who made his way to first.
UCI left the game with a total of 10 hits and two errors, while CSULB ended the day with seven hits and one error.