Bell, Linton Propel UCI
Josh Tavelli hit his first home run of the season, while UC Irvine’s starting pitcher Matt Dufour tossed a no-hitter for the 4.2 innings he pitched in the Anteaters’ 4-3 victory over Kansas State.
Dufour was summoned to start Tuesday’s game, because all four of UCI’s starting pitchers did not have sufficient rest. While his control wasn’t exactly pinpoint in his first start of the season, he was effectively wild in his half-game no-hitter. Primarily a reliever, Dufour’s arm isn’t conditioned for throwing nine innings, and thus he was pulled in the fifth despite having the no-hitter in tact.
Tavelli put the Anteaters on the board in the second inning with an RBI single to drive home Tony Asaro, who doubled in the previous at bat.
In the fourth inning, Tavelli struck again, this time jacking a solo home run to left field, giving him one on the season and giving the Anteaters a 3-0 lead.
While UCI pitchers allowed just three hits all game, Kansas State was able to put two runs across in the sixth inning off reliever Cole Hathcock. After Eric Deragisch singled home the fourth run for the Anteaters, the Wildcats cut the UCI lead to 4-3 after Scott Gorgen surrendered an unearned run in his first relief appearance of the season.
Gorgen was flawless for the rest of his short outing, pitching just 1.1 innings before giving way to Eric Pettis who recorded the last two outs of the game to seal the win for the Anteaters, keeping their season-long losing streak to a minimum of two games.
Kansas State 9 UCI 7 (11 Innings)
Kansas State’s Justin Bloxton hit a walk-off two-run home run in the bottom of the 11th inning Wednesday night to avoid consecutive losses to UCI. The extra-inning loss was the first the Anteaters have suffered this season.
UCI had overcome an early five-run deficit in the eighth inning to tie the game 7-7 before Pettis surrendered his first collegiate loss on Bloxton’s home run.
The Wildcats scored five runs of Daniel Bibona in the first inning, but the Anteaters chipped away at their lead in the second inning as Tavelli had an RBI double, while Ollie Linton and Jeff Cusick followed with RBI singles.
Kansas State put another run on the board in the fourth, but Dillon Bell made it 6-4 with an RBI single in the sixth, and Linton put UCI within one with a sacrifice fly in the seventh.
With the Wildcats up 7-5 in the eighth inning, pinch hitter Brock Bardeen delivered a clutch pinch-hit two-run homer to tie the game and eventually force extra innings. The home run was Bardeen’s third on the season, but it would come in a losing effort after Bloxton gave the Wildcat fans plenty to cheer about with his late-inning heroics.
Kansas State improved to 19-21 on the season.
UCI 5 New Mexico 3
After delivering the eventual game-winning run in Tuesday’s victory over Kansas State, Eric Deragisch came through clutch again Friday versus New Mexico, this time delivering the game-tying and game-winning runs in UCI’s 5-3 win.
Scott Gorgen was stellar, pitching eight innings, giving up two earned runs and striking out four, improving his record to 8-2 on the season. Pettis was resilient from Wednesday’s loss by tossing a perfect ninth inning to record his tenth save of the season—the most of any pitcher in the Big West.
UCI took a 2-0 lead in the first on an RBI double by Orloff and a sacrifice bunt by Francis Larson that brought Orloff around to score.
New Mexico cut into the lead in the bottom half of the frame by capitalizing on two Anteater errors, allowing the Lobos to tie the game at 2-2. They took a 3-2 lead over UCI in the fifth on an RBI single by Ian Hollick.
In the top of the seventh, Ollie Linton came up with a two-out single and advanced to second on a balk, setting the stage for Deragisch, who drilled an RBI single up the middle to score for the game-tying run.
Following back-to-back singles by Casey Stevenson and Linton, it was Deragisch providing the timely hitting once again. The third baseman raked an RBI single in the ninth to give UCI a 4-3 lead. Francis Larson followed with an RBI double to score Linton and cap the Anteater scoring at five runs.
Linton finished the day going four for five with three runs while Orloff went two for five with a run and an RBI.
UCI 11 New Mexico 6
Ollie Linton re-wrote the UCI record books, while Josh Tavelli and Dillon Bell each went deep in the Anteaters’ 11-6 victory Saturday night.
Tavelli delivered his second home run in three days, a two-run shot in the fourth inning, while Bell gave UCI a comforting 9-2 lead with his three-run blast in the fifth.
The win was especially memorable for Linton who set the single-season record for stolen-bases by an Anteater with his 29th swipe. Linton is already the career stolen base leader in UCI history, and he still has 16 games to increase both records.
New Mexico jumped out to an early lead again after Ian Hollick hit a solo home run in the first and Scott Gracey followed with an RBI single in the second. However, the Anteaters tied the game in the top of the third on an RBI single by Linton and a sacrifice fly by Eric Deragisch.
After his two-run homer in the fourth inning, Tavelli added a fourth run for UCI with a sacrifice fly in the fifth. Later in that inning, Bell blew the game open with his second home run of the season.
Ryan Fisher got into the action in the seventh with a solo home run, his first since smashing two in the season opener at Nevada.
Bryce Stowell earned the win for the Anteaters as he improved to 5-2 on the season. Stowell went five innings, allowing two runs and striking out five.
Bell was three for three with three RBI, including a double and a home run while Linton also had a three-hit day, going three for five with an RBI. Tavelli finished one for four with a home run and three RBI, while Deragisch stayed red-hot, going two for four with a pair of RBI.
UCI 12 New Mexico 1
Dillon Bell solidified his ability to be a middle of order force, while Ollie Linton capped off a brilliant three-game series as the Anteaters destroyed New Mexico, 12-1.
UCI starter Daniel Bibona rebounded from his rough start versus Kansas State by going seven innings, giving up just one run and striking out five. He improved to 6-1 on the year.
The story of the day was UCI’s second straight offensive onslaught. After going three for four with a home run and three RBI in Saturday’s victory, Dillon Bell was moved to the three-spot in the lineup and delivered once again.
Bell drilled a two-run single in the third inning to give UCI an early 2-0 lead and then homered in his next at bat, a two-run shot, his third of the year. He collected another RBI in the sixth inning with a run-scoring single. On the day, Bell finished three for five with a home run and five RBI. Bell accounted for more RBI’s in Saturday and Sunday’s games than New Mexico did as a team.
Ollie Linton capped off his fabulous road trip in spectacular fashion as well. The leadoff hitter finished with four hits in five at bats, including his third home run of the season, a solo shot to lead off the fifth inning. He added a two-run double in the ninth, giving him three RBI to go with his three runs. He was a triple shy of the cycle.
Ben Orloff and Casey Stevenson each had three hits on the day while Ryan Fisher kept his hot streak in tact, going two for four with three RBI.
In the three-game series, Linton finished 10 for 15 with a home run, five RBI, seven runs and two stolen bases, giving him 30 on the season.
Orloff finished seven for 13, Eric Deragisch went six for 12 and Bell had six hits, two home runs and eight RBI.
With the series sweep, the Anteaters improved to 28-10, while New Mexico fell to 27-19.
This week, the Anteaters will return home for a game versus Loyola Marymount before going to play a three-game conference series at Cal State Northridge from Friday to Sunday.