In a game where pitching was horrendous on both sides of the field, UCI’s (20-10, 14-3) offense sparked in the second half of the game and led to a victory, 11-6, against the Cal Poly Mustangs (16-13, 6-7) at Baggett Stadium on Friday, April 16.
In the first two innings, both teams were scoreless. Junior pitcher Trenton Denholm struggled early on as the batters from Cal Poly seemed to wear him out. Denholm had 47 pitches in just the first two innings.
However, early in the third inning, all seemed well for the Anteaters as junior center fielder Mike Peabody executed a big play that turned into a run by freshman third baseman Connor McGuire. UCI took the early lead, 1-0.
Irvine had no time to celebrate as Denholm lost momentum. The Mustangs racked up a total of four runs and five hits in the bottom of the 3rd surpassing UCI, 4-1. The scoring leap was started by redshirt senior catcher Myles Emmerson who looked for the Mustang’s first hit of the game.
Also shining in the third inning’s lead was Cal Poly’s redshirt junior third baseman, Tate Samuelson, who gave UCI early trouble early by earning his 22nd RBI of the year. Samuelson had five at bats, one run and a hit.
After a total of 82 pitches in the bottom of the fourth inning, junior pitcher Gordon Ingebritson — in his 13th appearance of the season — replaced Denholm. Unfortunately, that did not stop Cal Poly’s redshirt freshman pinch runner/left fielder Reagan Doss to bump the lead to 5-1.
After UCI’s disappointing start, the Anteaters showed grit in the fifth inning, tying up the score 5-5. A tremendous showing was displayed by both Peabody and redshirt freshman right fielder Nathan Church.
This led to the Mustangs replacing starting pitcher redshirt freshman Drew Thorpe with redshirt freshman pitcher Kyle Scott who was well-rested after having only one pitch in Cal Poly’s previous game.
Pitching changes was a recurring theme of the night as Ingebritson was soon substituted for junior pitcher Tanner Brooks. Brooks played from the bottom of the fifth all the way to the eighth inning where he was replaced by freshman pitcher Jacob King who finished the game.
Brooks fared well as he only allowed Cal Poly to score once more for the night. That honor fell to redshirt junior Nick Dicarlo who had a two-out double in the fifth inning.
With the Mustangs leading 6-5, Irvine’s junior catcher Dillon Tatum gained his sixth home run of the season, tying up the scored six apiece and changing the course of the game.
At the top of the seventh inning, UCI continued their dominance as Church gave the Anteaters the lead for the second time in the game, making the score 7-6.
It was all over in the ninth inning as the pitching staff of Cal Poly collapsed, letting UCI score four more times in an 11-6 defeat. With a brilliant ninth inning led by an explosive offensive side, the Anteaters knocked Cal Poly further down the pecking order as the victorious Anteaters came back from behind.
Church and Peabody led a batting average of .365, the highest of the night from UCI alongside junior first baseman Jacob Castro.
UCI looks to carry their performance over into a double-header matchup against Cal Poly at Baggett Stadium on April 17.
Marcos Gonzalez is a Sports Intern for the spring 2021 quarter. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org