One night after being soundly defeated by Cal State Fullerton in Dave Serrano’s first game back at Anteater Ballpark, UC Irvine won its biggest game of the season in dramatic fashion on Saturday.
In the bottom of the 12th inning, Ollie Linton laced a single to center field scoring Sean Madigan from second base, tying the score 2-2. Two pitches later, Linton stole second base, putting him 180 feet away from a much-needed Anteater victory.
On the very next pitch, Ben Orloff ripped a single through the right side of the infield, but the right fielder was playing very shallow and it didn’t appear Linton would have a chance to come around and score. Nevertheless, third-base coach Pat Shine gave Linton the green light.
As the right fielder fired home, the Titans’ pitcher, Adam Jorgenson, cut the ball off thinking that there was no way Linton would attempt to score. When he saw Linton half-way to home plate, he quickly flipped the ball to the catcher, but as Linton slid home, the ball was knocked loose from the catcher’s glove.
“Going around third, that was a rush. I didn’t expect Coach Shine to send me but he’s a hard-nosed player,” Linton said. “I remember looking back at the right fielder and saw him playing short second base, but when I saw [Shine’s] arm waving, I just put my head down and did whatever I could to knock the ball loose.”
Linton had crossed the plate safely for the 3-2 win