Saturday, June 15, 2024
HomeSportsBaseballNo. 21 UC Irvine Baseball’s season comes to an end following loss...

No. 21 UC Irvine Baseball’s season comes to an end following loss to No. 7 Oregon State

- advertisement -

The No. 21 UC Irvine Anteaters baseball team’s (45-14, 22-8) season came to an end following an 11-6 loss against No. 7 Oregon State Beavers (45-14, 19-10) in the Corvallis Regional final in Corvallis, Oregon on June 2 and 3.

UC Irvine entered the game having lost a matchup against Oregon State 5-3 on June 1, giving the Beavers a 1-0 lead in the regional championship series.

The Anteaters struck first in the bottom of the first as redshirt junior infielder Woody Hadeen singled, junior outfielder Myles Smith walked and senior outfielder Caden Kendle walked. Sophomore first baseman Anthony Martinez then grounded out, allowing Hadeen to score and give the Anteaters a 1-0 lead.

On the ensuing at-bat, junior designated hitter Dub Gleed hit a home run, scoring Smith, Kendle and himself to give the Anteaters an early 4-0 lead.

Oregon State took the lead in the top of the second as they put up five runs, putting them ahead 5-4.

The Beavers continued to extend the lead in the top of the fourth as they added one run to their total to go up 6-4 on the Anteaters.

In the bottom of the fourth, UCI senior catcher Thomas McCaffrey was hit by a pitch. Following that, the umpires gathered to discuss the wet condition of the field and the rain that had been falling in Corvallis for most of the day. The conclusion of the game was postponed following the umpire discussion until 12:06 p.m. on June 3.

When the game resumed, the Anteaters wasted no time staging a comeback as Hadeen hit a fly ball, which was dropped by Oregon State senior outfielder Brady Kasper and allowed McCaffrey to score — shortening the Beavers’ lead to 6-5.

In the top of the fifth, Oregon State added two more runs which gave them an 8-5 lead. Despite the damage Oregon State inflicted, UCI graduate pitcher Nick Pinto struck out two, giving him the all-time UC Irvine record for career strikeouts by a pitcher. Pinto ended his career for the Anteaters with 334 strikeouts.

UCI answered back in the bottom of the fifth, with Gleed hitting his second home run of the game to reduce the Beavers’ lead to 8-6.

Oregon State continued to add to their lead in the top of the sixth as they scored once again to bring the score to 9-6.

In the top of the eighth, the Beavers added another run to give them a commanding four-run lead, 10-6.

The final run in the game came in the top of the ninth as the Beavers scored to give them an 11-6 lead, cementing their victory.

The loss gave the Anteaters a final record of 2-4 against Pac-12 teams in what is currently believed to be the final season for the conference.

Gleed had a strong game performance as he tallied two home runs, four runners batted in and one walk.

Despite the record Pinto achieved in the game and the two strikeouts he recorded, he allowed a walk and two runs in only two-thirds of an inning, where the Beavers scored the seventh and eighth runs of the game, which the Anteaters were unable to come back from.

This game ended the Anteaters’ 2024 season — during which they won 43 regular season games, including 22 conference games. Despite not winning the conference championship, the Anteaters finished only four games behind the conference champion — good enough for a second-place finish in the Big West.

The Anteaters reached their first NCAA championship tournament since 2021 and won two games to be one of the final 32 teams remaining in the tournament, equivalent to reaching the second round in other 64-team NCAA championship events.

In the 2025 season, one of the Big West regular season series will be canceled to make way for a Big West tournament. With this, the Big West becomes the final baseball-sponsored conference to hold a postseason tournament, having not hosted one before. The tournament is currently scheduled to take place at Cal State Fullerton.

Next season, the Anteaters will not only look to qualify for the Big West baseball tournament but also to claim their first Big West championship since 2021 and their first NCAA regional championship series victory since 2021.

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

Edited by James Huston, Jeanette Wallis