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HomeSportsBaseballUCI Baseball Snowballed Into Decisive Win Against No. 22 Ranked UCLA, 12-4

UCI Baseball Snowballed Into Decisive Win Against No. 22 Ranked UCLA, 12-4

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The UCI Men’s baseball team (22-11, 7-8) took control early on against the UCLA Bruins (21-11-1, 8-5-1) and maintained the lead until the end of the game, 12-4, at the Anteater Ballpark on Tuesday, April 18. 

UCI’s blockbuster, eight-run, fifth inning was spearheaded by redshirt junior outfielder Luke Spillane, junior outfielder Caden Kendle and junior infielder Jo Oyama, all of whom helped balloon the ‘Eaters’ lead to 10-0.

The first inning started with many opportunities for the ‘Eaters. UCI junior catcher Thomas McCaffrey was at-bat with players on first and third base. Unfortunately, McCaffrey hit a pop fly ball into the middle of the outfield, pressuring the ‘Eaters in the bottom of the 1st, but a swift double play shut the door on any scoring conversions for the Bruins.

In the second inning, a wild pitch thrown by UCLA sophomore pitcher Ethan Flanagan, led to the ‘Eaters getting base runners on second and third with only one out. Spillane helped convert the position with a pop fly ball into the outfield and the ‘Eaters were up early, 1-0.

After three swift strike-outs for Flanagan in the third inning, he was relieved in the following inning by freshman pitcher Michael Barnett.

In the top of the fourth, UCI gained yet another strong edge against the Bruins with runners on second and third with only one out. UCI redshirt sophomore infielder Will Bermudez was gifted an on-base walk after being struck by the ball.

The bases were now fully loaded with one out and the pressure was on Barnett to close out the inning.

Barnett decisively struck out Spillane, but was unable to keep the ‘Eaters at bay for long. After a tense 2-2 count, Barnett pitched two straight balls and unceremoniously walked-in a home run. 

The ‘Eaters led 2-0 into the bottom of the fourth inning. 

At the top of the fifth inning, UCI batters freshman first baseman/catcher Anthony Martinez and sophomore outfielder/catcher Chase Call hit back-to-back singles and forced UCLA to bring in redshirt sophomore pitcher Chris Aldrich onto the mound. 

Despite the change, the woes for the Bruins continued. 

With one out and two bases loaded, a wild pitch against McCaffrey allowed Martinez a spot on third base. The ‘Eaters capitalized their forward position with back-to-back singles, a base single on a passed ball, a walk and another single. They were ahead 6-0 with only one out and bases loaded.

The offensive flurry continued with an Oyama line drive through second base that brought home three runners. Martinez made another at-bat appearance, and wielded yet another single that brought UCI’s lead to 10-0. Luckily, the Bruins bore a swift double play with outs on first and second to stop the eight-run onslaught. 

The ‘Eaters held firmly the rest of the game in light of a two-run rally for the Bruins in the bottom of the ninth inning. The game closed with a UCI victory, 12-4.

With this match, the Anteaters netted their biggest ranked win of the season and improved their non-conference record to 15-3. They faced yet another non-conference opponent, the Kansas State Wildcats, at the Anteater Ballpark on Friday, April 21. The ‘Eaters were unable to net and lost the overall series against the Wildcats, 1-2.

Jason Garcia Escobar is a Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at