By: Jordan Medina
After splitting their season opening four game series with San Jose State, UCI baseball (2-3) lost their home opener to San Diego State (1-3) Tuesday night. The Aztecs picked up their first win of the season after being swept by number fifteen Oregon over the weekend, while UCI falls to 24-14 in all-time home openers and 5-4 in home openers under coach Mike Gillespie..
Junior starting pitcher Sean Sparling pitched three innings, but ran into trouble during the second, when back to back doubles led to the Aztecs’ first run of the game.
After freshman Miles Glazier took over for Sparling in the fourth, UCI was in danger of falling behind by even more, when San Diego State loaded the bases with two outs, but Glazier was able to force a fly out to get out of the jam and keep it a one run game.
In the bottom of the fifth, UC Irvine used small ball to tie the ballgame. Senior infielder Mitchell Holland led off the inning with a single, and moved to second on a perfectly placed bunt from sophomore Parker Coss that slowly rolled down the third base line before coming to a halt just inside fair territory. After moving to third on another bunt, Holland ran home on a sacrifice fly from junior Adam Alcantara to equal the score.
Later, in the sixth inning, San Diego State took the lead again on a solo shot to right center field. UCI tied the game again in the bottom half of the frame on another combination of a base hit, a bunt single and a sacrifice fly to knot the game at two.
San Diego State finally took the lead for good in the eighth when the Aztecs scored again on back-to-back doubles to take a 3-2 lead. The Aztecs scored an important insurance run later in the inning to take a 4-2 lead and provide the final margin for the game.
“We had to get ‘em out at the tail end of the game and we didn’t,” Gillespie said. “Four runs is not fourteen…but four’s enough to get you beat when you only score two.”
The ‘Eaters couldn’t quite adjust to the Aztecs’ arms, as they only amassed six hits during the game, and not a single Anteater had multiple hits. San Diego State starter Harrison Pyatt kept the UCI bats at bay in his five innings of work, allowing only one run on three hits.
“The one big thing that was frustrating was our ability to make an adjustment against the starter and all that off speed stuff that he was throwing there,” said Gillespie.
UCI returns to action on Thursday with an exhibition game against Korean professional team, NC Dinos, at Anteater Ballpark before resuming their regular season schedule with a three game series against the Nevada Wolf Pack.