’Eaters Have Gauchos for Breakfast
UCI 4 UCSB 0
With Daniel Bibona injured and aiming to start next week, it was usual No. 2 starter Christian Bergman on a tear Friday night for UCI, as he didn’t allow a hit to UC Santa Barbara until the top of the sixth inning. His effort was instrumental in the Anteaters picking up their 31st win on the season, improving to 11-5 in the Big West.
UCI started off the scoring in the bottom of the first after Casey Stevenson put himself on second with a stand-up double. Brian Hernandez was then hit by a pitch, which made room for Jeff Cusick to come up to bat and put UCI on the board with an RBI single to right.
The Anteaters added another run in the fourth and then one in the seventh to extend the lead to three, while on the other side, Bergman glided through five innings of no-hit ball. The team responded to the first hit he gave up by turning a double play in the next at-bat and then by catching a pop fly to end the inning.
In the top of the eighth, Bergman got into trouble when the Gauchos strung together a few singles to load the bases with only one out. Bergman’s 98 pitches looked to be affecting his performance, so the coaches pulled him in favor of reliever Kyle Necke.
With the bases loaded and only one out, Necke rose to the occasion and retired both batters on harmless fly balls to get out of the eighth.
“[Necke] got the pop-up on the slider and the fly ball on the fastball and so it was great for us and I think good for him,” Head Coach Mike Gillespie said.
More excellent pitching came in the ninth inning as Eric Pettis came in to finish off the game and claim the first victory of the weekend for UCI.
UCI 8 UCSB 1
The story for the Anteaters Saturday afternoon was the play of UCI freshman starting pitcher Evan Brock, making just his third start of the season. He pitched seven solid innings coming off three brilliant innings on Tuesday, only allowing two hits and one unearned run.
The UCI bats also came up big, as DJ Crumlich continued his hot streak by going 2-3 with two runs and two RBIs. Cusick also knocked in a couple, while Sean Madigan led the Anteaters on the day with three runs batted in.
The lesser-known pitchers continued to come up big for UCI, as Nick Hoover and Kyle Hooper teamed up for the final three innings and didn’t allow a single run.
Considering all eight of UCI’s runs came with two outs, the Anteaters may finally be getting hits when they need them. With clutch hitting and strong pitching from the bullpen,
UCSB 2 UCI 1
UCSB pitcher Jesse Meaux outdueled Eric Pettis to prevent the sweep. UCI (32-17, 12-6) got their lone run in the bottom of the ninth. Drew Hillman knoked in Brian Hernandez, but it was not enough. UCI plays UC Riverside next.