The UC Irvine Baseball team defeated Cal State University, Northridge on Saturday, April 29 in a Big West series at Anteater Ballpark, where the Anteaters won their second straight game of the series against the Matadors, 6-2.
UCI improved their overall record, 23-27 and Big West record of 6-5.
Yet, the win was still just one game and that’s how UCI Head Coach Dave Serrano likes to put matters into perspective with his team.
Serrano conceded that beating CSUN in their last series game together was good, but that there’s still Sunday’s game and the rest of the season.
‘We take it one game at a time in a series, but we need to sweep tomorrow’s game,’ said Serrano, already looking ahead to their next game less then a day away.
Although, the Matadors were first up to bat, it was the Anteaters who took the first lead.
Junior first baseman Jaime Martinez and junior designated hitter Matt Anderson each had one RBI, which put the Anteaters up 2-0 at the end of the first.
Once again, the second inning proved fruitless for CSUN, while favoring for UCI.
With senior second baseman Brett Dalton stealing third base and freshmen center fielder Ollie Linton on second, senior left fielder Danny Miramontes stepped into the batter’s box as UCI only had one out for the inning so far.
Miramontes rose to the occasion by hitting a two-run single off CSUN sophomore pitcher Craig Baker to bring in both Dalton and Linton.
Later, Martinez slammed the ball deep into right field for a single and another RBI before the inning wound down.
The Anteaters held the game at 5-0 for the next three innings as neither team scored any runs.
Then, at the bottom of the sixth, Dalton hit one to left center, which fell short of a home run, but instead bounced off the backboard leaving Dalton enough time to make it to third.
Linton drove Dalton home with a single that pushed UCI ahead with a cushion of 6-0, where UCI stayed for the rest of the game.
Both team’s line-ups went scoreless in the seventh, but the mood changed for the Matadors in the eighth.
Anteater sophomore pitcher Justin Cassel gave up two runs to allow CSUN to crawl back into the game.
Cassel and the rest of the Anteater squad held them at 6-2.
The game had numerous highlights for individual players and the team.
Cassel pitched his second complete-game this season and allowed only six hits and two walks.
Martinez and Miramontes both hade two RBI’s followed by Anderson and Linton who had one each.
Still, Linton believed he needed ‘to clean up some of the rookie mistakes’ he made during the game.
Linton has quick feet and likes to steal bases, but was not well received by the next baseman the few times he tried to steal.
UCI has won its last seven of nine games and have significantly improved their performance compared to earlier this season.
Serrano thinks ‘winning always breeds confidence’ and if there’s ‘anytime to do it, it’s now.’
Yet, the Anteaters know that it’s about being consistent and winning. One area UCI still needs to improve on is ‘sustaining those good innings throughout the game,’ Miramontes said.
So far, UCI is 6-5 in the Big West and has a hand full of games left in the season.
It seems UCI finally knows how to work as a team in a year which has had many changes including the addition of Serrano.
Nevertheless, their heads are in the game and it shows. The only thing left is to ‘put everything back together,’ as Linton commented, basically, just start doing all the right things, like working as a team.’
There’s still plenty of time left this season.
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