Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomeSportsBaseballNo. 21 UC Irvine Baseball defeats Tulane 17-7

No. 21 UC Irvine Baseball defeats Tulane 17-7

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The UC Irvine baseball team (45-13, 22-8) defeated the Tulane Green Wave (36-26, 15-12) 17-7 in the losers bracket final of the NCAA Regional tournament in Corvallis, Oregon on June 2.

Previously, the two teams met in an out-of-conference series from Feb. 23-25, where the Anteaters swept all three games.

Oyama was the strongest performer for the Anteaters in the game, as he had a home run, three runs, two hits, three runners batted in, one walk and was hit by a pitch. While the home run in the ninth inning really cemented the win for the Anteaters, his early walk in the seventh inning really helped the Anteaters keep up their momentum from Call’s single, which was necessary for scoring the deciding runs in the game.

The Green Wave’s season ended following this game. Tulane’s season highlights included one win in the NCAA tournament and an American Athletic Conference championship.

Also, with the win, the Anteaters become one of 32 teams remaining in contention for a national championship. This was also the UC Irvine Baseball team’s second NCAA tournament win, tying women’s soccer for most NCAA tournament wins among all UC Irvine athletic programs this academic year.

In their fourth matchup this season, the Anteaters made the first strike in the top of the first inning as senior outfielder Caden Kendle hit a double, and sophomore first baseman Anthony Martinez followed that up with a single, which allowed Kendle to score, giving the Anteaters a 1-0 lead.

The Green Wave scored twice in the bottom of the first inning to take their first lead of the game, 2-1.

The Anteaters were able to tie up the game in the bottom of the second inning following junior outfielder Chase Call being hit by a pitch, a single by senior infielder Jo Oyama and a sacrifice fly by senior catcher Abraham Garcia-Pacheco, which scored Call to tie the game 2-2.

UC Irvine extended their lead in the top of the third inning with a single by redshirt junior infielder Woody Hadeen, a single by junior outfielder Myles Smith and a walk by Martinez. Junior designated hitter Dub Gleed then hit into a fielder’s choice, allowing Hadeen to score to give the Anteaters a 3-2 lead.

Also in the inning, redshirt junior infielder Will Bermudez walked, and another walk was issued to junior outfielder Chase Call, allowing Smith to score and extending UC Irvine’s lead to 4-2.

The Anteaters continued to add on in the top of the fourth inning, where Garcia-Pacheco singled, Hadeen was hit by a pitch and Smith walked. Kendle continued the barrage with a sacrifice fly, which was able to score Garcia-Pacheco and give the Anteaters a 5-2 lead.

In the top of the fifth inning, following a controversial out call at first base — confirmed by a replay review, which also ended the fourth inning — Tulane head coach Jay Uhlman continued to argue with the home plate umpire about the result of the call, which resulted in his ejection from the game.

This ejection caused trouble for Tulane as they walked Bermudez and Call, hit Garcia-Pacheco with a pitch and then got Hadeen to ground out. Bermudez was able to score on the play and give the Anteaters a 6-2 lead.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, the Green Wave attempted to shorten the lead with a rally, but they were only able to reclaim one run, shortening UC Irvine’s lead to 6-3.

By far, though, the biggest damage of the day was done by the Anteaters in the top of the seventh inning, where Call started the inning off with a single, Oyama walked and Garcia-Pacheco doubled, which scored Call and Oyama to give the Anteaters an 8-3 lead.

Hadeen continued the inning with a walk, Smith walked and Kendle doubled, scoring Garcia-Pacheco and Hadeen to extend UC Irvine’s lead to 10-3. Martinez followed that up with a single that allowed Smith to score and extend the lead to 11-3.

The Green Wave hit Gleed and then gave up a single to Bermudez, which allowed Kendle to score and give the Anteaters a 12-3 lead. A little later in the inning, Oyama was hit by a pitch, and Martinez scored to extend the lead to 13-3. Then Hadeen was walked for the second time in the inning, allowing Bermudez to score and give UC Irvine a 14-3 lead.

The last strike for the Anteaters in the inning was when Smith was hit by a pitch, and Oyama scored to give the Anteaters a 15-3 lead going into the bottom of the seventh.

In their last batting opportunity of the game, the Anteaters scored once more following Call reaching base off of a throwing error by Tulane graduate student infielder Marcus Cline. Oyama was able to hit a two-run home run, which also scored Call and gave the Anteaters a 17-3 lead.

In their final opportunity of the season, the Green Wave were able to put a dent in the score, putting up four runs in the bottom of the ninth, but ultimately it was not enough as they fell 17-7.

Junior right-handed pitcher Danny Suarez started the game out strong for the Anteaters, pitching two and two-thirds innings, which included five consecutive strikeouts.

The Anteaters unfortunately fell in the regional championship 11-6 against No. 7 Oregon State on Monday, June 3, officially ending the historic season.

Jack Fedor is a Sports Apprentice for the spring 2024 quarter. He can be reached at jfedor@uci.edu

Edited by Phillip Lemus, Jaheem Conley