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After taking down then top-ranked California State Unversity Fullerton, UC Irvine climbed up to number five in the latest Baseball America standings. However, the Anteaters fell to unranked UCLA 8-3 on Tuesday at Jackie Robinson Stadium.
Ben Orloff, Jeff Cusick and Jordan Leyland were the only ‘Eaters to record multiple hits with two each.
The UCI midweek woes were exposed even more as the Bruins attacked early against starter Corey Hamilton, who pitched 2.1 innings, allowing three earned runs.
UCI attacked first, however, as Ronnie Shaeffer plated Ben Orloff and a Ryan Fisher solo shot put the Anteaters up 2-0. It was Fisher’s third home run of the season.
After Eddie Murray drew a bases-loaded walk in the bottom of the second, Cody Decker belted a two-run homer, his 10th of the season, in the third to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead. An RBI in the fourth by Decker again would increase the Bruin lead at 4-2.
Jeff Cusick’s sacrifice fly would cut the lead to one, but four unanswered runs by the Bruins would give Rob Rasmussen the win.
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Despite diminishing playing time, Dillon Bell still delivered in the clutch as his single in the bottom of the 12th inning on Thursday night at Anteater Stadium gave UC Irvine the 3-2 win over rival California State University Long Beach State in a Big West match-up.
Casey Stevenson led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on a misplay by a 49er outfielder. A wild pitch by reliever Josh Corrales put Stevenson on third. Bell finally ended the four-hour and 15 minute affair with his walk-off single.
Anteater closer Eric Pettis put Sunday’s loss against California State University Fullerton behind him as he pitched three scoreless innings to improve to 3-1 on the season. Starter Daniel Bibona continued his dominance by pitching seven innings, striking out five, and allowing two runs in the no-decision. Relievers Brock Bardeen and Noel Avison pitched shutout innings of their own.
Freshman Tommy Reyes put together a solid performance, going two for four at the plate. Catcher Francis Larson stymied three late rallies by the Dirtbags by throwing out three base runners trying to steal.
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UC Irvine junior Christian Bergman continued to make his name known as he held The Beach to three runs (two earned) over six innings to improve to 5-1 on the season.
With the win, UCI is now three for three in series victories in the Big West this season. UCI tacked two runs early on and RBI hit from Catcher Francis Larson and a fielder’s choice from DJ Crumlich in the first.
The 49ers would cut the lead in half in the third inning only to see Jeff Cusick raise the recently awoken bat to double in Tommy Reyes.
The lead increased to four at 5-1 on a pair of run-scoring doubles by Corey Olson and Tommy Reyes.
Avison, Bardeen, and Pettis again combined for three shutout innings to finish the game. Pettis achieved his conference-leading ninth save.
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UC Irvine improved to conference best 8-1 after completing the series sweep with a 9-5 victory over California State University Long Beach at Anteater Ballpark on Saturday.
It was a special day for UCI senior shortstop Ben Orloff, who became UCI’s all-time leader in runs with 149. He recorded three hits in four at-bats with an RBI and two runs scored in the contest. Ronnie Shaeffer also contributed three hits, and Francis Larson plated two with his fifth home run of the season. Tommy Reyes completed his stellar series going two for three with an RBI.
Crosby Slaught improved to 3-0, pitching six innings. He allowed four earned runs on six hits and two strikeouts. Noel Avison and Kyle Necke completed an outstanding weekend for the ‘Eater bullpen by pitching a combined three scoreless innings. The UCI bullpen held the Dirtbags to five hits in 11 scoreless innings on the series, an extremely bright note for a previously struggling bullpen.
UCI improved to 22-9 overall and is now three games ahead of California State University Fullerton in the Big West standings, which is second in the conference.
UCI next hosts Loyola Marymount University at home Monday at 6 p.m. They will then travel south to take on the University of San Diego. They will cap the week with a weekend series against UC Riverside on the road as they continue to tear through Big West oppenents.