UCI 4 CSUN 1
UC Irvine’s All-American ace Scott Gorgen registered his fifth double-digit strikeout performance of the season as he held Cal State Northridge to one run in the Anteaters’ 4-1 victory Friday night.
Gorgen pitched 8.1 innings, struck out 10 Matadors and surrendered just one run in the outing. The 10 strikeouts gave him 296 in his UCI career, putting him just three strikeouts away from becoming UCI’s all-time leader. The victory improved his record to 9-2 on the season.
Eric Deragisch tripled in the first run of the day after Francis Larson hit a one-out single in the top of the second. Larson finished the day going three for four.
In the top of the fourth, UCI took a 2-0 lead on a solo home run by one of the best-kept secrets in the Big West, Tony Asaro. The junior designated hitter hit his fourth home run of the season, a lead off blast to centerfield. He now has the second-most homers on the club behind Larson’s six. Asaro, however, has hit four in just 65 at bats this year. The long ball improved his team-leading slugging percentage to .600.
The Anteaters had a 2-1 lead going into the top of the ninth before catcher Aaron Lowenstein provided UCI with some much-needed breathing room. Lowenstein jacked his first collegiate home run, a two-run shot over the left-centerfield wall, bringing Deragisch home to cap the scoring for the Anteaters.
Gorgen improved his ERA to 1.97 and lowered his opponent batting average to .165—both of which are best in the Big West. His 92 strikeouts are tops in the conference, as well.
UCI 1 CSUN 0
Bryce Stowell picked a good day to pitch the best game of his collegiate career. The right-hander tossed 7.2 scoreless innings, striking out eight and allowing just two hits. He improved to 6-2 this year, as UCI was on the winning side of a stellar pitcher’s duel.
The game was scoreless until Francis Larson drove home Ben Orloff with an RBI fielder’s choice in the seventh inning. It was the only run surrendered by the Matador’s starter Phil Hann, who pitched a tremendous game himself, going 8.2 innings and giving up just four hits.
Ollie Linton led UCI with two hits. Dillon Bell and Orloff were the only other Anteaters to collect hits in the game.
In the bottom of the ninth, the Matadors threatened to erase the shutout after closer Eric Pettis issued a one-out walk and surrendered a single to the following hitter. However, after inducing a fly-out, Ryan Fisher made a nice snag at first base to preserve the shutout and clinch the series victory for the Anteaters.
Pettis recorded his conference-leading 11th save of the season. He has been a big reason for the Anteaters being 6-0 in one-run ball games.
Stowell lowered his season ERA to 2.12 and increased his strikeout total to 72, both good for third best in the Big West among starting pitchers.
CSUN 4 UCI 1
For the third straight game, the Anteater offense failed to catch fire, and this time the pitching could only hold on to the shutout for six innings.
UCI starter Daniel Bibona was dominant until the Matador offense capitalized on a throwing error by Deragisch which led to three unearned runs in the seventh inning. Bibona finished the day pitching 6.2 innings, yielding one earned run and striking out eight while walking just one. The loss put his season record at 6-2.
The four-run seventh inning was more than enough for the Northridge pitchers who had gotten the short end of the stick all series, giving up just five runs in the previous two games, yet having no victories to show for it.
Francis Larson doubled down the right-field line in the top of the fourth and later scored on a grounder to shortstop by Brock Bardeen, giving UCI a 1-0 lead. Unfortunately, that was the only run of support Bibona and the bullpen would have to work with.
Bibona was dominant in the early going, retiring the first 11 Matadors until he hit a batsman in the fourth inning. He also had six strikeouts at the end of three.
CSUN finally got something going against Bibona in the seventh after a one-out walk and single preceded the UCI throwing error. From there, Bibona was unable to keep the flood gates closed.
The Matadors tied the score at one with a pinch-hit single, then took the 2-1 lead with an RBI fielder’s choice. With runners on second and third, CSUN commanded a comforting three-run lead on a two-run single to cap the Matador scoring.
The loss dropped UCI to 30-12 overall and 8-7 in conference.
After playing eight of their last nine games on the road, the Anteaters will play a game at Riverside this Tuesday before finally returning to Anteater Ballpark to play a three-game series this weekend against Pacific.