Anteaters Tame the Mustangs

Alex Yee/New University

UCI 5, Pepperdine 4

After trailing 4-1 for most of the game, the ’Eaters used a clutch three-run double from Sean Madigan to record a 5-4 victory against the Pepperdine Waves on May 4.

“I was just praying that Reyes would score from first so that we could take that lead,” Madigan said. “It feels good that I can come through for [the team]. We struggled all game.”

UCI used seven pitchers in the game, starting with Kyle Hooper who was charged with two runs in two innings. Crosby Slaught threw three shutout innings. Jimmy Litchfield was awarded the win for his 0.2 innings of scoreless work in the bottom of the eighth, while Brian Hernandez earned his ninth save of the season.

The Anteaters showed their plate discipline against a wild pitcher as Pepperdine starter Alex Najera issued seven walks in 6.2 innings. UCI used those walks to get into scoring position throughout the game; however, the Anteaters left 10 runners on base.

The Waves were able to get on the board first in the second inning. In the fourth, UCI closed the gap to 2-1 when Christian Ramirez brought Jordan Fox home off of a groundout to second base.

Pepperdine loaded the bases off an error, a walk and a single in the sixth. Joe Sever slapped a line drive that ricocheted off Nick Hoover’s foot and rolled towards first base. Hoover ran toward the ball and tried to toss it to first base, but Sever was safe and the score was 3-1.

In the bottom of the eighth, UCI rallied with two outs as Ronnie Shaeffer singled to  right. Manager Mike Gillespie then strategically replaced a lefty, Ramirez, with righty Scott Gottschling to counter the Waves’ lefty reliever. The move proved to be brilliant as Gottschling got a hit to keep the inning going. Tommy Reyes then smacked a single to score Shaeffer and DJ Crumlich followed by working a walk to load the bases. The ’Eaters managed to take the lead as Madigan crushed the game-winning three-run double.

UCI 6, Cal Poly 2

Ace Matt Summers made easy work of Cal Poly in the weekend opener, racking up a career-high 10 strikeouts and limiting the Mustangs to just one run in eight innings as he led his team to a 6-2 victory.

The Mustangs opened the scoring in the fourth as they drove in a runner from second with a double to take the early lead. But UCI answered in that same inning, thanks to Shaeffer’s two-out RBI single.

The ’Eaters then took the lead as they went Jordan to Jordan, with Jordan Leyland driving home Jordan Fox on a line-drive single.

UCI wasn’t finished as their four-run rally ensured their victory in the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, Hernandez belted a triple and scored on Drew Hillman’s single to right. After Fox was hit by a pitch, Ramirez blasted a triple of his own, scoring Hillman and Fox, giving UCI a 5-1 lead. Ramirez then stole home for the ’Eaters’ final run of the game.

UCI 3, Cal Poly 7

The reigning Big West Pitcher of the week, Matt Whitehouse, followed Summers’ example with 7.2 stellar innings on May 7, giving up two runs and striking out eight. Whitehouse’s pitching performance went for naught as he recorded a no-decision due to a rare lapse from Hernandez and Litchfield, who combined to give up five runs in the eighth and ninth innings. After recording an early 3-0 lead, the ’Eaters suffered a 7-3 loss to the Mustangs.

UCI broke a scoreless tie with a three-run rally in the fourth as Hernandez and Hillman started off the inning with back-to-back singles. After Leyland drew a one-out walk to load the bases, Shaeffer drove in two runs on an RBI single to right center. Reyes later drove in the ’Eaters’ final run with an RBI single to right field.

After scoring in the seventh and eighth, the Mustangs battered Hernandez for four runs in the ninth. Litchfield relieved Hernandez and gave up an additional two runs on a couple of RBI bunts. The southpaw then surrendered an RBI single that scored a runner from second base, giving Cal Poly their final run of the game.

“Well we wasted a real good pitching appearance and we weren’t able to finish it,” Gillespie said after the game. “I’m frustrated that we [were] held to three [runs], but I guess the credit goes to their guy. We were supposed to finish it, but we didn’t finish it.”

UCI 3, Cal Poly 2

In the rubber match between the Mustangs and the Anteaters, junior Crosby Slaught led UCI to 3-2 victory on Sunday, May 8.

Slaught pitched seven innings, allowing one earned run and fanning five batters. Freshman Andrew Thurman allowed the second Mustang run, but he struckout three, picking up his first save of the season.