‘Eaters Swept by Titans

With the regular season coming close to an end, the ’Eaters were unable to hold off the Titans as they dropped a crucial series that moved them to second place in the Big West Conference.

UC Irvine’s Andrew Morales suffered his first collegian loss Friday night as he struggled on the mound giving up five runs on his shortest outing of the season while the ‘Eaters dropped game one of the series 9-1. The ’Eaters scored first in the bottom of the 3rd inning on a RBI double by Taylor Sparks that brought in Grant Palmer to give the ’Eaters their only run of the night. The ‘Eaters had several scoring opportunities during the game as they had opportunities in the fourth and fifth inning while getting runners on but failing to bring them in. Morales was unable to hold the lead as he surrendered five runs in the top of the fourth and got hit hard by the heart of the Titans’ order. Despite the rough outing for Morales, he still holds a solid 1.41 era, which is good enough for second in the Big West Conference and ranks first among starting pitchers. Morales’ great season has him poised for the future MLB draft, but also as a finalist for the prestigious Dick Howser Collegian Trophy.

’Eaters tried to bounce back Saturday night with Elliot Surrey on the mound and scored first in the fourth inning when Jerry McClanahan singled home Taylor Sparks and gave Irvine an early lead to start the night. Elliot Surrey pitched another quality start by blanking the Titans of no runs and pitching seven innings while only allowing six hits but did not factor in the decision as the Titans came back in the top of the ninth to tie the game. The ’Eaters took a one run lead into the ninth before handing the ball to the Big West Conference leader in saves, Sam Moore. Moore struggled to begin the inning and allowed four consecutive men to reach base before eventually giving up the tying run on a base hit by Keegan Dale. Jimmy Litchfield took over the pitching at the top of the 10th, and surrendered the game winning run to drop the series for the ’Eaters as they lost by a score of 2-1. Elliot Surrey pitched his ninth consecutive quality start and lowered his era to 1.83 which is good enough for 10th in the Big West.

Despite a strong effort and a great start from the Anteaters against Cal State Fullerton on Sunday, the Titans were able to rally and beat the Anteaters 4-3. Sam Moore struggled once more in his only inning of work, as he allowed three consecutive hits, to blow his second save of the weekend. With the sweep, Fullerton closed the door on the ’Eaters’ chances at recapturing first place in the Big West. The ’Eaters will face Long Beach State for second place this coming weekend.