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UCI Baseball Pitches a Shutout for a Bounce Back Victory Against Hawai’i, 6-0

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The UCI Baseball team (29-14, 11-9) defeated the University of Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors (22-1, 11-9), 6-0 at Anteater Ballpark in Irvine, CA on Saturday, May 6. The Anteaters were defeated by the Rainbow Warriors the previous night 7-2.

UCI redshirt senior, right-handed pitcher Michael Stanford started against Hawai’i’s senior left-handed pitcher Randy Abshier.

The ‘Eaters established an early lead with a two-run homer to left field in the bottom of the first inning by junior left fielder Caden Kendle. This marked his fifth home run of the season, along with increasing his Big West conference leading, 45th RBI as well.

In the bottom of the second, UCI sophomore right fielder/catcher Chase Call narrowly singled into fair right field for a base hit. With junior catcher Abraham Garcia-Pacheco’s at bat, Call successfully stole second base, placing him in position to score. Redshirt junior center fielder Luke Spillane hit a sacrifice fly to right field, extending the lead to 3-0.

The Anteater offense continued to flex their dominance against the Rainbow Warriors in the third inning. Freshman first baseman/catcher Anthony Martinez doubled to right center field to increase the lead by one run.

Hawai’i missed its lone opportunity to put runs on the board in the top of the fourth with runners on first and third base. Stanford struckout Rainbow Warrior junior second baseman/infielder Stone Miyao for the last out.

UCI added insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth inning with a two-run homer to left field by junior designated hitter/catcher Thomas McCaffrey, ballooning the lead to 6-0.    

The ‘Eater defense showcased its authority in the sixth when redshirt sophomore second baseman/infielder Will Bermudez grabbed a ground ball to second base and threw an incredible, cross body throw to Martinez for the last out of the inning. 

Stanford continued his brilliant performance, throwing over a 100 pitches going into the seventh. UCI head coach Ben Orloff decided to keep him in the game, as Stanford played past the sixth inning for the second time this season. He displayed his skill, retiring the first three batters in short order. 

Redshirt junior right-handed pitcher Jacob King closed the game for UCI by forcing a groundout to first base to hand the Anteaters a bounce back victory against Hawai’i, 6-0.

The Anteaters finished the game with six runs off nine hits, while the defense impressively held the Rainbow Warrior’s offense to four hits. This victory was much needed for the ‘Eaters as it created a tie for fifth place in the Big West Conference with three weeks of conference play remaining. 

UCI utilized Saturday’s momentum to take a 6-1 win against Hawai’i on Sunday, May 7, taking sole possession of fifth place in the Big West. 

With the NCAA Tournament looming in the background, the Anteaters continue to build their resume to the tournament committee. The ‘Eaters are one game away from obtaining the fourth seed in the Big West and will look to overtake Cal State Northridge when they go against them in an away series at Matador Baseball Field May 12-14.

Donnell Fuller is a Sports Intern for the spring 2023 quarter. He can be reached at ddfuller@uci.edu.