Non-Conference, No Problem
UCI 9 UO 6
The UC Irvine baseball team learned of its number one national ranking by Baseball America early Monday and proved the source’s contention right by beating the University of Oregon 9-6 at the Anteater Ballpark.
UCI has not lost a weekend series all season, and the only knock on the team was its vulnerability in mid-week games.
The Anteaters were resilient on Monday as they emerged as victors against a young but talented Oregon Ducks squad.
With the game tied at five in the bottom of the seventh inning, Casey Stevenson launched a two-run double with the bases loaded to give the Anteaters a 7-5 lead. Stevenson then scored on a double steal, and catcher Francis Larson capped the scoring with an RBI hit that put the Anteaters up 9-5.
Stevenson hit a perfect three for three with two RBIs and three runs. He extended his hitting streak to 11 games. Freshman Ronnie Shaeffer was also perfect at the plate with four hits in four at-bats. Larson went two for four with two RBIs, and Eric Deragisch contributed two hits and an RBI of his own.
Senior Matt Dufour earned the win (2-0), pitching 2.1 innings, allowing one hit and one run. Freshman Matt Summers pitched 3.1 innings in relief of starter Corey Hamilton, who was tagged for four earned runs in 3.1 innings. Summers allowed three hits and a run, while striking out one.
UCI 7 UO 4
Casey Stevenson was the hero on Monday, but DJ Crumlich took the title on Tuesday by driving a clutch RBI single up the middle on Oregon relief pitcher Bennet Whitmore to break a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Tommy Reyes and Crumlich would plate the final two runs to put the ‘Eaters up for good at 7-4.
Eric Deragisch led UC Irvine with three RBIs, and Crumlich drove in two on two for three hitting.
Crosby Slaught got the start for the Anteaters after a short effort against UC Riverside. He had only pitched a third of an inning before being run out of the game as he gave up five earned runs on six hits.
On Tuesday, he pitched 5.1 innings, striking out four while allowing four earned runs in the no-decision. Noel Avison earned the win after pitching 2.2 innings of shutout ball. He improved to 3-1, and Eric Pettis had a 1-2-3 inning in the ninth for his national-leading 13th save of the season.
UCI 8 Utah 3
The Anteaters traveled to Salt Lake City for a late season non-conference series against the University of Utah and won their sixth consecutive game by defeating the Aggies 8-3 in the Thursday match.
Catcher Francis Larson went one for four with three RBIs, and Tommy Reyes and Casey Stevenson combined for four runs and two RBIs apiece. Jeff Cusick led the team with three hits, while Larson and Eric Deragisch added two hits each. Ben Orloff, a Lowe’s Senior Class Award candidate, continued his hitting streak to 10 games with a hit on Friday.
UC Irvine ace Daniel Bibona improved to 7-1, only allowing two runs on seven hits over seven innings of work. He walked two and struck out three in the effort. Senior Brock Bardeen pitched a shut-out inning in the eighth, and Matt Dufour closed the game out in the ninth after allowing a run.
UCI took a three-run lead in the third inning when Ronnie Shaeffer was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score the first run. Larson then smacked a fly ball to right field for a sacrifice fly and Stevenson would single in Deragisch.
The Aggies finally got on board in the fifth inning when Tyler Yagi drove in Corey Shimada after he hit a two-out double to set the score at 3-1.
The ‘Eaters responded in the top of the sixth as Reyes doubled in two runs to put UCI up 5-1.
Utah’s CJ Cron then belted his seventh home run of the season in the bottom of the inning, a solo shot.
Larson then highlighted the game with a triple off the left-field fence to score two runs and put the ‘Eaters up 8-2 in the seventh.
The Aggies would add a run a little too late in the ninth inning as the Anteaters improved to 29-10.
UCI 10 Utah 1
UC Irvine starting pitcher Christian Bergman turned in his best performance of the year Friday against Utah as the UCI bats gave him more than the support he needed en route to a 10-1 victory of the Aggies on the road.
Bergman pitched a complete game, allowing one run while striking out nine and walking none. The lone run he gave up was early in the bottom of the second inning when Austin Jones doubled in C.J. Cron.
Francis Larson and Casey Stevenson paced the hot bats of the Anteaters. They each recorded three hits, two runs and two RBIs. Larson blasted a solo home run in the top of the ninth to left field for his eighth of the season. Dillion Bell also sent one over the fence and finished the game with two hits. Ben Orloff continued his hitting streak at 11 with two hits. Jeff Cusick, Ronnie Shaeffer and Tommy Reyes each recorded an RBI.
Utah 7 UCI 3
UC Irvine’s season-high seven-game win streak was snapped on Saturday in the finale of the weekend series against Utah in Salt Lake City. UCI captured the series on Friday with Bergman’s complete game, but the Aggies avoided a sweep with a solid effort the third time around. UCI’s record now stands at an impressive 30-11.
Matt Summers played center field and drove in two of UCI’s three runs. Eric Deragisch, Ronnie Shaeffer and Jeff Cusick had two hits each. Kyle Necke was tagged with the loss (1-3) as he pitched two innings and gave up three runs on the start.
UCI returns home to take on University of Southern California on Tuesday and Cal State Northridge at home in a conference weekend series.