UC Irvine’s Baseball team suffered another hard loss to the Houston Cougars Saturday night. Despite the on-and-off rain and hail, the Anteaters fought throughout the entire game bringing in two final runs in the bottom of the ninth. However, a fly ball by sophomore utility Taylor Holiday would finish the inning, ending the game at Anteater Ballpark with the Anteaters losing 7-3.
‘I’m disappointed by how we played,’ said UCI Head Coach Dave Serrano. ‘I don’t think we’ve shown the fight that we have been showing throughout the year.’
The trouble began for UCI (12-9) as early as the first inning when an RBI by Houston’s (11-8) infielder Dustin Kingsbury brought in infielder Isa Garcia. This first run was only the beginning of Houston’s dominance over the first innings of the game.
The third inning brought more offense from the Cougars as they again pushed past the Anteater defense, bringing in multiple runs. A single by Houston first basemen Luis Flores added two runs to the scoreboard, bringing the game to 3-0 in favor of the Cougars.
As the rain began to fall in the fifth, the Anteaters slipped up once more and let an error at first allow Houston’s Brad Lincoln to make it home in addition to setting up a runner at third. UCI outfielder Bryan Petersen caught a fly ball to end the fifth inning down 5-0.
‘Obviously we slipped defensively. It’s about being tougher out at the plate,’ Serrano said. ‘There is no team that gives extra outs and is successful. We did that tonight.’
Senior pitcher Glen Swanson was relieved after pitching 5.2 innings and striking out four. Junior Dylan Axelrod relieved Swanson and pitched the rest of the game, throwing a career-high seven strikeouts in 3.1 innings.
UCI remained scoreless until junior first baseman Cody Cipriano’s single to left field would earn him an RBI, giving the Anteaters hope for the second half of the game.
However, neither team was able to bring in a run until the top of the ninth when a hit to center field that bounced out of outfielder Gary Dudrey’s glove would set up a runner at third. A base hit by Houston’s Jake Steward would bring in the final Cougar run.
The Anteaters entered the top of the ninth knowing it was their last shot to keep this game going. Designated hitter Jaime Martinez led off the inning, patiently drawing a walk after a full count. He was later replaced by pinch runner Matt Morris.
Outfielder Brock Bardeen followed this pattern and was walked after a full count. Pressured to end the game, Houston sophomore pitcher Aaron Brown relieved junior Clayton Boone and struck out the two following Anteater batters. Pinch hitter Zach Robinson hit a single to bring in Morris, and a wild pitch allowed Bardeen to cross the plate for the second run of the inning.
With an impending comeback and runners on first and second, Holiday was brought to the plate with hopes of keeping UCI alive. But a fly ball to outfield was caught and ended any chance of an Anteater come back. The loss dropped UCI to 0-2 in the series.
‘We’re going to come out with the best attitude,’ Serrano said in reference to Sunday’s game. ‘This team’s going to come after us for the sweep and we better come out with a better attitude and ready to play the game.’
UCI finished their series against Houston Sunday and will return to play at Anteater Ballpark Thursday when they begin their series against Oral Roberts.