Snatching the Eye of the Tiger
For a program that has relied on its pitching to get the job done for the last couple years, UC Irvine’s offense has kept the team going this season. The UCI bats scored 11 runs in three innings to defeat the University of the Pacific 11-6 on Friday night at Klein Family Field.
Casey Stevenson and Ryan Fisher highlighted the 16-hit attack when they hit back-to-back home runs in the sixth inning. It was the second time this season that a pair of Anteaters accomplished this feat. Francis Larson and Ronnie Shaeffer teamed up the first time against UC Riverside on April 17.
Six Anteaters recorded multi-hits. Larson led the way with three hits in four at-bats to go along with an RBI. Shaeffer, Jeff Cusick and Eric Deragisch had two hits and two RBIs each.
Despite the six runs allowed by the ’Eaters, only three were earned. Starter Daniel Bibona improved to 9-1 by pitching eight innings, allowing five runs (two earned) and recording seven strikeouts with only one walk in the outing. Kyle Necke pitched two-thirds of an inning, allowing an earned run, while Noel Avison retired the final batter of the game.
The UCI defense was not on its game, as two errors led to a four-run in the bottom of the fifth inning to put the Tigers up 5-3.
However, the Stevenson-Fisher connection knotted the game up at five in the sixth inning. Ben Orloff singled with two outs and stole second. Deragisch lined a double in the ensuing at-bat to put the ’Eaters up 6-5. The Tigers’ Jamie Niley came in to pitch in relief, and hit the next three Anteater batters to force in Deragisch, then walking Shaeffer with the bases loaded to force in another run and put UCI up 8-5.
UCI would tack on three more runs in the seventh inning to cap their scoring on the night.
The top-ranked Anteaters improved to 35-11 (15-1).
UCI 5 Pacific 4
Eric Deragisch belted his second home run of the season, a two-run shot, in the top of the ninth inning to snap a 3-3 tie and clinch another series victory for the Anteaters this season.
Ben Orloff extended the ninth inning by recording a two-out infield single, which set the stage for Deragisch. He sent a 0-1 curveball over the left-field fence to give UC Irvine the 5-3 lead.
The Tigers cut the lead to one when Mike Walker hit a solo homer off closer Eric Pettis, but Pettis struck out the following three batters to record his 15th save of the season.
Jeff Cusick led off the fourth inning with a single. Francis Larson and Ronnie Shaeffer both reached on bunt singles to load the bases. Casey Stevenson scored Cusick on a sacrifice fly and Tommy Reyes and Ryan Fisher each collected RBI singles to put UCI up 3-0.
The Tigers responded with a run, scoring double in the fourth, and a two-run single in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game at three. That is, until Deragisch’s heroics proved to be the difference.
Christian Bergman pitched six innings in the no decision as he allowed three earned runs and struck out three. Brock Bardeen pitched two scoreless innings to earn his fifth win of the season.
UCI 6 Pacific 5
The top-ranked Anteaters completeted yet another sweep Sunday against the University of the Pacific by defeating the Tigers 6-5 in the final match at Klein Family Field.
UC Irvine improved to 37-11 overall and 17-1 in the Big West Conference. The Tigers dropped to 18-28 and 8-13 in the Big West.
Crosby Slaught improved to 5-0 on the season by pitching seven innings, allowing four earned runs on six hits to go along with three strikeouts.
Eric Deragisch provided the heroics again, but this time on the defensive side. He robbed Pacific’s Joey Centanni of a two-RBI hit and connected with Casey Stevenson for a game ending double-play to help Eric Pettis record his 16th save of the season.
The Tigers had runners on second and third with one out in the bottom of the ninth. Centanni stepped to the plate and sent Pettis’ pitch on a line-drive that was snagged by Dergisch in the air, who sent a heads-up toss to Stevenson who doubled up the runner to end the game.
Tommy Reyes led the UCI offense by going perfect at the plate with three hits and two RBIs. Deragisch added an RBI with two hits, and Ben Orloff and Ronnie Shaeffer added two hits each.
UCI next takes on the University of San Diego at the Anteater Ballpark on Tuesday, and then hosts its final regular season series against UC Davis this wekend at Anteater Ballpark.