Aztecs Fall At UC Irvine 10-5
April 17, 2012
IRVINE, Calif. - UC Irvine broke open a one-run contest with five runs in the bottom of the eighth as it defeated San Diego State, 10-5, Tuesday night at Anteater Ballpark. With the win UCI improved to 20-14 on the season while the Aztecs saw their record fall to 18-21.
UCI put an unearned run on the board in the bottom of the first off SDSU sophomore starting pitcher Philip Walby. Jordan Fox's grounder in the hole between first and second was run down on a fine play by Tim Zier, but his throw to first was not only late, it went past first baseman Ryan Muno for an error and allowed Fox to advance to second. An ensuing single by Connor Spencer brought home the runner to give the Anteaters a quick 1-0 lead.
San Diego State used nine pitchers on the night, primarily due to Irvine's lineup that featured five consecutive right-handed hitters and four straight left-handed batters. The strategy of alternating left-handed and right-handed pitchers paid off for the Aztecs until the bottom of the fifth when the Anteaters added three runs to their lead.
After Brian Crabb retired two hitters around a single, Mike RoBards was brought on to face the left-handed portion of UCI's lineup. The SDSU freshman lefty proceeded to give up three hits and a hit batter as the home side went up 4-0.
The Aztecs fought back in their next at bat to cut UCI's lead in half. Tanner Reibenspies led off with a single and was followed by a walk to Cody Smith. A sacrifice bunt by Greg Allen moved both runners up a base before Reibenspies scored on a wild pitch and Smith came home on Tim Zier's double to right center to make it a 4-2 contest.
The Anteaters answered with a run of their own in the bottom of that same inning thanks to a pair of walks by Aztec reliever Taylor Hansen followed by an RBI single by Tommy Reyes.
SDSU got back to within two with a run in the seventh when Cody Smith's spinning grounder off the end of the bat was mishandled by UCI pitcher Jimmy Litchfield allowing Jake Romanski, who had singled earlier in the inning, to score.
The Aztecs got to within a run in the eighth as Zier led off with a double that fell just inside the right field line and went to third when the ball was mishandled by the UCI right fielder. Spencer Thornton's ground out to shortstop then scored Zier and made it 5-4.
But that's as close as SDSU would get as the Anteaters score five runs in the bottom of the eighth at the expense of Aztec relievers Adam Anawalt, who had come to start the inning, and Mitch Bluman. Those runs came courtesy of five hits, a pair of walks and an error.
The Aztecs picked up a consolation run in the ninth on single by pinch hitter Avondre Bollar, who went to second on defensive indifference and to third on a wild pitch before scoring on Evan Potter's ground out to shortstop.
Anteater starter Crosby Slaught, who tossed the first three innings allowing just a hit and a walk while striking out three, was credited with the win to improve to 2-1. Philip Walby, who allowed just an unearned run on three hits over 2.1 innings, was the hard-luck loser as his record dropped to 0-3.
Freshman Tanner Reibenspies, making his first start at third base, finished the evening with a pair of hits and a walk in three plate appearances and scored a run. Tim Zier contributed a two doubles and an RBI while Jake Romanski also had two hits and scored once.
Up next for San Diego State is a three-game series against Mountain West co-league leader TCU that beings on Friday (April 20) with a game slated to start at 6:00 p.m. at Tony Gwynn Stadium.