Pick Your Poison

Gilberto Cardenas/File Photo


It was clear from the beginning that UC Irvine’s sophomore pitcher Andy Lines was holding nothing back with the Aztecs as he struck out batter after batter, compiling a career high of seven strikeouts in only four innings. On Tuesday, April 12, the No. 17 UCI Anteaters defeated the San Diego State Aztecs, 3-0, at Anteater Ballpark.

“I think we had an outstanding pitching performance from everybody that pitched, but more specifically from Andy Lines,” Head Coach Mike Gillespie said. “This was clearly the best he’s ever pitched.”

In the bottom of the first, Aztecs’ starting pitcher Craig Rasmussen threw a hanger to junior D.J. Crumlich, who singled and later took third. Redshirt senior Sean Madigan singled to centerfield, allowing Crumlich to trot home, giving the ’Eaters the lead at 1-0.

The Anteaters knocked the Aztecs’ Craig Rasmussen out of the game after 34 pitches and 1.2 innings of work.

The second and third innings were executed speedily as Lines struck out the Aztec batters one after the other.

“It was a good game; Andy came out and pitched really well for us … showing us what he was capable of today,” third baseman Brian Hernandez said.

In the bottom of the third, Madigan walked. Hernandez then executed a hit-and-run, sending Madigan to third. Leyland stepped up to the plate and hit the ball between first and second, knocking in Madigan and allowing Hernandez to reach third. Hernandez would score the final run on a grounder to short by junior Ronnie Shaeffer.

“We have to come out and … play as a team and play for each other and we will be fine,” Hernandez said. “Today we just came out and Andy produced strikes and we played good defense. We did not really give [San Diego State] any extra opportunities.”

After four stellar innings from Lines, Gillespie handed the ball over to Nick Hoover. Hoover fed off Lines’ momentum, as he did not allow a hit in three innings of relief. In the eighth inning, freshman Jimmy Litchfield replaced Hoover and struck out two of the four batters he faced. In the ninth inning, Gillespie made his last switch, inserting Hernandez, who retired the final three batters for his seventh save of the season.

“We were able to exploit a couple of freebies and it worked for us tonight,” Coach Gillespie said. “Our advice always is throw strikes and play catch and if you throw good strikes and we catch the ball then we are always going to be in the game and have a chance to win.”

UCI 10, UOP 0

In the weekend series opening game against the Pacific Tigers, starting pitcher Matt Summers had nothing to complain about. His pitching was spot on, and his offense gave him plenty to smile about.

The ’Eaters overwhelmed the Tigers with their pitching and bombarded them with their bats, as UCI toppled Pacific 10-0 on April 15.

Summers pitched seven strong innings, striking out seven and allowing six hits and two walks. Infielder Drew Hillman led the 10-run output with his fourth four-RBI game of the season. Centerfielder Christian Ramirez and second baseman Tommy Reyes each added two RBIs.

With a 6-0 lead, the ’Eaters put the game out of reach by scoring four runs in the top of the eighth. Madigan started the rally with a walk and was later driven home off a Ramirez single. After a Jordan Leyland walk, Hillman stepped to the plate with two on and belted a three-run homer, capping the four-run inning.

Pacific had opportunities to put some runs on the board but could not capitalize. In the sixth, Pacific had runners on first and second with no outs, but Summers worked himself out of the jam by retiring three straight, striking out the last two batters in the inning. In the bottom of the eighth, Pacific put runners on first and third with one out, but UCI’s Kyle Hooper struck out the last two batters to end the threat.

UCI 4, UOP 6

After comfortably winning the series opener against the Tigers, the second of three games was filled with dramatics. After four lead changes, Pacific came out on top, 6-4, on April 16.

Hurst gave UCI its first lead of the game with a sacrifice fly that brought in Ramirez. In the third inning, an ’Eater error proved to be costly as it was responsible for two Tiger runs. In the fifth, the Anteaters put up two runs in the top half of the frame to regain the lead at 3-2, but the Tigers matched UCI’s two runs in the bottom of the inning with two of their own.

Hillman tied the game in the sixth by singling, stealing second and scoring off an errant throw by Pacific’s catcher.

The ’Eaters and Tigers headed into the seventh with the scored tied at four runs apiece. With runners on first and third with one out, Pacific’s Brian Martin singled, bringing in the fifth and sixth run of the game.

UCI had one more chance to come back, putting runners on first and second with two outs in the ninth, but were unable to capitalize, as Tigers reliever Chris Larsen squelched the rally.

UCI 13, UOP 7

In the rubber match of the three game series, UCI and UOP went toe-to-toe. After five innings, the ’Eaters and Tigers were tied 5-5. Pacific struck first, scoring four runs in the bottom of the first, but the Anteaters battled back in the second, third and fourth.

The Anteaters separated themselves in the seventh, overwhelming Pacific’s pitching staff by scoring six runs in the frame. The seventh inning proved to be the difference as UCI (23-9, 6-3 Big West) went on to win, 13-7.

Drew Hillman was the star of the day, going 6-6 at the plate, becoming just the second Anteater to collect six hits in one game.