UCI Baseball posted a big 10-2 win against the UCSB Gauchos Friday night. UCI starting pitcher, sophomore Andre Pallante, allowed one run in seven innings, and struck out 10 as he advanced to (5-0) with the win.
“It was probably my best stuff,” Pallante said following the game. “I think I had all three pitches working, fastball, curveball, slider. I had decent command, and I kept the ball down and got into good counts.”
Freshman Marcos Castanon hit a triple in the second to put the Gaucho’s ahead by one, but Pallante quickly struck out a Gaucho on an 85 mph fastball to get out of the jam.
UCI’s bats struck thunder in the third. junior Matt Reitano hit a double down the left field line to start the inning. Redshirt sophomore Konnor Zickefoose hit an infield single to move Reitano to third.
Sophomore Christian Koss then drove Reitano home with an infield single that tied the score at one. Later in the inning, freshman Brendan Brooks hit a Texas league bloop to center to give UCI the two to one lead. Senior Ryan Fitzpatrick came to the plate soon after and drove a three run homerun to deep left center, his seventh of the season. UCI now had a 5-1 lead.
Fitzpatrick said of the homerun, “It was a fastball out over the plate, I put a good swing into the ball and got into it.”
In the fourth, Christian Koss doubled for another RBI. Jake Palmer’s RBI single later in the inning made the score seven to one for the Anteaters.
In the top of the eighth, UCSB’s junior Clay Fisher led off the inning with a triple, and later scored off a single from freshman Drew Williams, but UCSB’s offense ended there.
In the bottom of the eighth, senior Cole Kreuter rocked a solo home run to dead leftfield. “Offense putting up seven runs helps a lot,” said Pallante. “When they put up runs like that, you have a lot more confidence on the mound.”
A tough 9-4 loss Saturday for the Anteaters evens out the series one to one against the Santa Barbara Gauchos. UCI’s junior Taylor Rashi took the loss (3-3) as UCSB’s Chris Lincoln advances to a (2-1) record with the win.
Fitzpatrick said of Lincoln’s pitching, “He had a good mix, fastball was good, slider was good.”
A second inning sacrifice fly and a fourth inning gave UCSB a three- run lead heading into the bottom of the fourth. At the plate, UCI loaded the bases and scored off a hit by pitch. Unfortunately for the Anteaters, the inning ended, and they stranded the bases loaded.
As Fitzpatrick put it, “We hit the ball hard a lot, we just kept finding their gloves.” The offense was there for the Anteaters, but the luck wasn’t.
The Anteaters (19-14) have played evenly matched baseball against the UCSB Gauchos (16-14-1) all weekend. Much of the Gaucho’s’ success on Saturday could be attributed to a big seventh inning, in which UCSB posted six runs and batted around the lineup.
The Gaucho’s big seventh inning began with a leadoff double by sophomore Tommy Jew, followed by an infield single by sophomore Eric Yang off the foot of UCI’s pitcher, sophomore Cole Spear. With first and third and no outs, UCSB’s Marcos Castanon roped a double in the left field gap and drove the runners home. A wild pitch later in the inning resulted in another UCSB run. Jew came to the plate again and walked in a run. Yang also walked in a run before the Anteaters could put the inning to a close.
With the score 9-1 in the bottom of the seventh, UCI’s senior Parker Coss hit an infield single to drive in a run, and make the score 9-2. Unfortunately, UCI stranded two runners and the inning ended without a bang.
In the bottom of the eighth, UCI grad Nick Anderson hit an RBI single to right. Later in the inning, UCI’s freshman Mike Peabody hit a sacrifice grounder to drive home an Anteater and make the score 9-4.
Neither team changed the score in the ninth, and the game ended in a 9-4 loss for the Anteaters.
“We gotta get after it tomorrow,” said Fitzpatrick of the Sunday game.
The Anteaters finished their series up against UCSB at 1 p.m. on Sunday.
UCI’s up and down season continues to be tumultuous, but they’ve been able to maintain a four and four record in the Big West division.
The Big West has been close this season. UCI sits slightly behind the three and two UCSB Gauchos, so Sunday’s game is crucial for the Anteaters. At the top of the division, Hawaii (5-3), maintains only a half game lead over Fullerton and CSUN. UCI could take the lead in the division with two well placed wins and two vital losses by either Hawaii or Fullerton.