The Anteaters lost to the Wright State Raiders 3-1 at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark Friday night as they played their first game of the Long Beach State Tournament.
As the game began, left-handed pitcher Elliot Surrey stepped up to the mound and gave up a double to Kieston Green of Wright State which eventually brought him home after a single by Michael Timm. The ’Eaters first appearance at the plate brought a double by Chris Rabago who was able to reach third after a sacrifice fly by Taylor Sparks, but Wright State’s Travis Hissong struck out Connor Spencer to end the first inning with the ’Eaters trailing 1-0.
The next point scored was in the third inning as Hissong walked Sparks while the bases were loaded which brought in Evan Cassolato who was the only Irvine player to reach home plate throughout the entire game. The third inning ended with Connor Spencer striking out for the second time at bat and Jerry McClanahan popping out.
After pitching a full five innings, the Anteater’s Surrey was relieved in the sixth inning after pitching to Wright State’s Andrew McCafferty who was able to reach first base on an error, walking Michael Timm, and allowing MCafferty to steal for third as Matt Fielding took the mound. After two more outs at the top of the sixth inning, Wright’s Jeff Limbaugh hit a single and brought in McCafferty to score the second run of the game for Wright State. The bottom of the inning ended with Fielding striking out pinch hitter Jason DeFevers.
There were no more runs scored until the top of the eighth inning as Wright’s Michael Timm was able to reach third base by a fielding error off of a single.
This single led UC Irvine to replace Fielding, who pitched two and a third innings and gave up two hits and a run. A couple of walks and a single carried in Michael Timm which brought the game to 1-3 in the Raiders’ favor.
The Anteaters looked like they could have possibly changed the momentum as the bottom of the eighth inning started with three singles in a row by Taylor Sparks, Connor Spencer and Jerry McClanahan. With the bases loaded, pinch hitter Grant Palmer struck out and the Raiders brought in left-handed pitcher E.J. Trapino. After picking off a base-runner, Trapino struck out Andrew Elliot to end the rally that the ’Eaters desperately needed.
The ninth inning ended with the Raiders’ Andrew Elliot striking out three batters in a row and ending the game with the Anteaters trailing 1-3. Both teams walked away with six hits, but the ’Eaters left the game causing four errors compared to Wright State who caused only one.
Surrey pitched a total of nine strikeouts, but gave up four hits in the process and brought his earned run average from 4.50 to 3.00. “All-in-all,” Mike Gillespie, the head coach, said, “Surrey pitched well.”
The ’Eaters didn’t let this loss distract them as they continued the tournament and won 2-5 against the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday afternoon with Andrew Morales pitching seven innings and only allowing four hits and two unearned runs.
The ’Eaters returned once more to beat Long Beach State 7-2 on Sunday Feb. 23 during the long beach State Tournament. The Anteaters are looking forward to the rest of the season, and improving on their 4-3 record overall.