The top-ranked UC Irvine Anteaters were humbled on Tuesday at Anteater Ballpark when the University of San Diego tore the game open in the top of the ninth inning with seven runs to break a 2-2. The Toreros snapped UCI’s seven-game winning streak in their final game of the season.
With the game tied, USD’s Chris Engell singled up the middle and moved to second when James Meador drew a walk from Anteater closer Eric Pettis. Bryan Haar then stepped to the plate and launched a three-run home run to left field to put the Toreros up 5-2. USD wasn’t finished, loading the bases for pinch-hitter Michael Lugo, who blasted a three-run double to left-center field. They would tack on another run before Matt Summers stopped the bleeding with the final out.
San Diego sent its ace to the mound against the top-ranked team in the nation, and he shut down the ’Eaters. A.J. Griffin pitched seven shutout innings while striking out seven and walking five. The Anteaters left 10 base runners stranded over those seven innings.
UCI’s Brock Bardeen made his first start and pitched four innings, holding USD to one run on four hits.
USD recorded two runs in the third inning by singling in a run and scoring on a wild pitch.
After Griffin left the game, UCI tied the game in the eighth inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Corey Olsen was hit by a pitch to score Jeff Cusick. Ben Orloff then executed a bunt squeeze to score Tommy Reyes, but the scoring stopped there.
Pettis was tagged with the loss (4-2) giving up four runs on a third of an inning pitched.
UCI 9 UCD 3
After falling in the non-conference match to the University of San Diego, the Anteaters got right back on track defeating UC Davis 9-3 at home to clinch the program’s first ever Big West Conference Championship last Friday.
This season marks the first time that UC Irvine has been ranked number one and won a conference title, and it was also ace Daniel Bibona’s first complete game. The left-hander held the Aggies to three runs on five hits while striking out five to improve to 10-1. It was Bibona’s first time allowing more than two runs since March 6 against Alabama-Birmingham.
While Bibona got things done on the mound, the UCI bats took care of him. Casey Stevenson hit his first career grand slam in the bottom of the first giving UCI a 4-0 lead. Jeff Cusick added a solo shot of his own in the very next at-bat to put the ’Eaters up 5-1. It was the third time this season that a pair of Anteaters has hit back-to-back home runs.
Bibona was a little shaky in the second inning as he allowed an RBI single. A walk, wild pitch and a throwing error had advanced the runner to the third before he was plated.
UCI responded with a run in the bottom of the second when Ben Orloff scored on a groundout by Tommy Reyes.
Eric Deragisch hit a sacrifice fly in the fifth inning to score a run, and Corey Olsen belted a two-run homer to left to cap the Anteater scoring.
Stevenson led UCI with four RBIs and Olsen added two of his own. Orloff led the Anteaters on a perfect three-for-three hitting with three runs scored.
UCI 19 UCD 6
UC Irvine got one game closer to its goal of 40 wins when it laid down the hammer against UC Davis on Saturday with 19 runs to remain the only team in the nation not to drop a weekend series.
Ronnie Shaeffer filled in as catcher for Francis Larson, who is suffering from a minor wrist injury, and tied a career high with four hits and three RBIs. Ryan Fisher was perfect at the plate with three hits in three at-bats, with three RBIs. Eric Deragisch had three hits of his own to go along with three runs and two RBIs. Jeff Cusick finished two RBIs and two runs scored, and Ben Orloff finished three for five with an RBI.
Despite not performing up to his standards, Christian Bergman improved to 9-1 after pitching six innings, allowing three runs on 10 hits with three strikeouts. Kyle Necke pitched a scoreless seventh, and Corey Hamilton allowed two runs and struck out two in the eighth. Matt DuFour finished the game in the ninth inning and allowed one run.
Davis took the early lead in the first inning on a sacrifice fly, but UCI responded in a dramatic fashion as Deragisch stole home in the bottom of the first when Shaeffer was up to bat.
UCI took a 2-1 lead in the second inning when Orloff drove in Fisher. Davis would tie the game at 2-2, however, off three singles.
UCI went up for good in the third inning on a two-run home run by Cusick. It was his second home run of the series and fifth of the season. Fisher would add another run to put UCI up 5-2.
Fisher was at it again in the fourth with a two-run single to help put UCI up 9-2.
UCI sent 12 batters to the plate in the seventh inning courtesy of eight runs to blow the game open. The inning was highlighted by a run-scoring triple by Deragisch.
Shaeffer blasted a two-run home run in the eighth inning and finished the game a triple shy of the cycle. It was the third time this season that he was a hit shy for hitting for the cycle.
UCI 8 UCD 1
Crosby Slaught pitched seven innings, allowing one run and striking out five to improve to 6-0 and complete the sweep over UC Davis.
UCI improves to 40-12 (20-1), the third straight time the program has won 40 games in a season.
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