Baseball Sweeps Northridge
Sitting at 14-8 after the bulk of non-conference play, UCI was not necessarily having a bad season. But after starting the season in the top 10, the now No. 24 ranked Anteaters expected more out of themselves.
A three-game series at Matador Field against Cal State Northridge represented the start of Big West Conference play, and with that, a fresh start. The Anteaters made sure to take advantage, winning all three games in a resounding sweep over CSUN from April 1-3.
UCI 16, CSUN 2
After building a comfortable 8-2 lead after eight innings, the ’Eaters decided to go double or nothing and add eight more runs in the ninth inning.
Ace Daniel Bibona put himself back on the right track by whiffing 12 Matadors in eight innings, only giving up four hits and two earned runs. Meanwhile, Northridge starter Ryan Juarez and reliever Chris DeBoo were the two pitchers UC Irvine scored most of their runs off of.
Second baseman Casey Stevenson drove in more runs than the entire Matador offense, going 4 for 7 with a career-high five RBI’s. Stevenson led off the third with his second home run this season, and first baseman Jeff Cusick followed by hitting a two-run shot, his fourth home run of the year, giving the ’Eaters a 3-0 lead. This lead would not be relinquished by Bibona and reliever Matt Summers, who pitched a scoreless ninth inning.
Third baseman Brian Hernandez had three hits, right fielder Jonathan Hurst, catcher Francis Larson, designated hitter Ronnie Shaeffer, and left fielder Ryan Fisher all had two hits, and just about everyone in the ’Eater lineup had an RBI, quickly making this affair a laugher.
UCI 5, CSUN 3
Christian Bergman kept up the strong pitching, giving up three runs in six innings, as UCI took game two of the series 5-3.
Francis Larson and Brian Hernandez went yard (Larson’s 20th of his collegiate career) to provide the offense. Senior Jeff Cusick continued his strong hitting, going 3 for 5 while senior closer Kyle Necke continued his turnaround from his early season struggles by retiring the last seven batters of the game without giving up a hit.
UCI 7, CSUN 5
Starter Eric Pettis continued to make his conversion from closer back to starter a success story, as he improved to 5-0 on the season.
The sidewinder went 7.2 innings, giving up two earned runs while striking out five. Hernandez went 3 for 5 with 2 RBI’s, while Shaeffer went 4 for 5 with three runs scored.
Necke picked up his second straight save and fifth on the year with a hitless ninth inning.