The UCI Baseball team (35-17, 16-11) took on the UC Davis Aggies (17-34, 7-20) and earned their second consecutive win in the three game series, 13-2, at Dobbins Stadium in Davis on Saturday, May 20.
In their encounter the day prior, the ‘Eaters bested the Aggies 10-5 through four spectacular runs in the fifth inning, spearheaded by UCI redshirt junior outfielder Luke Spillane. The Aggies attempted to rally in the eighth inning behind freshman infielder Joey Wright’s two runs batted in (RBI), but only managed one more run before the game concluded. In Saturday’s game, the starting pitchers were Aggie freshman Alejandro Huezo and Anteater redshirt junior Nick Pinto.
The ‘Eaters started red-hot with a walk off for junior infielder Jo Oyama followed by a single and a crucial double by freshman first baseman/catcher Anthony Martinez, which put them on the scoreboard, 1-0. The next batter was hit by a pitch and as a result, the bases were fully loaded. The ‘Eaters capitalized on a wild pitch from Huezo and landed UCI junior outfielder Caden Kendle another run towards home plate. After facing five batters and letting up two runs, the Aggies swapped Huezo for redshirt junior infielder/pitcher Kaden Hogan, hoping for a switch in momentum.
However, the ‘Eaters did not let up. Back-to-back hits by Spillane and sophomore outfielder Myles Smith were caught for outs, but still led to two RBIs. The final RBI in the inning was scored by UCI redshirt sophomore infielder Will Bermudez and the ‘Eaters led the first inning 5-0.
The Aggies were up next at bat, but their results were rather meek. The Aggies only mustered up two hits and a runner on second. The ‘Eaters caught two fly balls and a ground out and resulted in only four batters at bat in the first inning.
In the second inning, Oyama was at bat again and netted a single to start the ‘Eaters off in the right direction. UCI junior catcher Thomas McCaffrey rose to the occasion, hitting a single towards third base for a single RBI. The following batter, Smith, led a fly-out ball into left field for another run before the ‘Eaters succumbed to a third out.
The ‘Eaters led 7-0 and the Aggies desperately looked for results from their bullpen. Pinto’s terrific pitching reigned over the Aggies. Pinto struck out batters back-to-back and only pitched to two more batters before the defense caught a fly-ball to left field.
However, in the third and fourth inning, both teams went tit-for-tat, not scoring any runs or making any hits.
The ‘Eaters were the first to break the drought in the top of the fifth inning. The Aggies managed two strikeouts with runners on second and third; and despite the pressure, Oyama bunted a single to bring Spillane to home plate. The ‘Eaters were able to score three more runs, 10-0, before the Aggies could put a stop to the onslaught. In the bottom of the fifth, the Aggies were finally able to score a run behind a wild pitch, 10-1, but the ‘Eaters held onto their significant lead.
UCI continued to build upon their lead in the seventh with two runs and the Aggies answered back, but only with a single run. The ‘Eaters prevailed with a massive 13-2 win over the Aggies and eventually completed the 3-0 sweep against the Aggies the following day with another commanding 9-2 win to conclude the weekend-long series.
The ‘Eaters will next face UC Riverside at the Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark from May 25-27.
Jason Garcia Escobar is a Sports Staff Writer. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.