It didn’t matter that UC Irvine couldn’t finish its unpredictable season with a national title. The season was, in every respect, a spectacular effort.
The Anteaters were finally defeated by the future champions, the Oregon State Beavers, which gave them a third-place finish, but not before providing UCI fans with countless thrilling moments that made for the best Anteater baseball season ever.
UCI submitted its RSVP to the College World Series in walk-off fashion. Junior Bryan Petersen crushed a double to right field, bringing home senior Matt Morris for the game-winning run over Wichita Sate in the bottom of the ninth. It made for quite a pile at home plate, and it wouldn’t be the last late-inning heroics UCI fans would witness.
After falling to Arizona State in a heartbreaking 5-4 loss, the Anteaters couldn’t afford to lose another game. But eliminating UCI would prove to be a daunting task.
However, Cal State Fullerton had no intention of leaving the tournament early either. The Anteaters dueled the Titans for 13 innings before Irvine’s late-inning hero Petersen came up with yet another game-winning walk off hit, this time singling home senior Cody Cipriano for a 5-4 win.
As if that weren’t enough drama, the Anteaters wasted no time engaging in another extra-inning clash. This time they sought revenge against Arizona State.
In front of 29,034 people, the second-largest crowd in CWS history, Ollie Linton delivered a game-winning walk-off single to right field, scoring Morris and keeping their magical season alive for one more game.
With the win, UCI made its mark in the College World Series record books by setting two records. It became the only team to win consecutive CWS extra-inning games, and the 13-inning win over Cal State Fullerton was in fact the longest game in the event’s 61-year history