Anteaters Handle Dirtbags, Gillespie Wins No. 1,000
IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine head coach Mike Gillespie picked up his 1,000th Division I win Sunday with a 7-2, non-conference victory over Long Beach State after another strong start from Evan Brock and a balanced Anteater offense at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Gillespie, in his seventh season at UCI, now owns a record of 1,000-593-2. He previously served 20 years at USC.
The Anteaters, looking to build on a 5-2 win over Arizona State Saturday, fell behind in the first as the Dirtbags tacked on an early run. Long Beach State loaded the bases with one out and Zack Domingues scored on the sacrifice fly by Ino Patron. However, Michael Hill was called out on appeal for leaving second base early and UCI escaped the inning trailing by one.
UCI quickly tied the game in the bottom of the first, getting a two-out hit from Connor Spencer to drive in Chris Rabago and then took the lead for good in the second as Rabago delivered with a two-run single up the middle to score Adam Alcantara, who had been hit by the pitch and Ryan Cooper, who had reached safely on a base hit to left.
The Dirtbags cut into the lead with a run in the sixth. Hill beat out a bunt single to third and following a hit by Patron, plated a run on the squeeze from Zack Rivera.
The Anteaters answered again as Spencer gave UCI an insurance run in the sixth, lacing a two-out single to center to drive in Sparks, who had doubled to lead off the inning.
The duo of Sparks and Spencer once more in the seventh. After pinch hitter Jonathan Munoz and Kris Paulino drew walks from reliever Logan Lombana, Sparks greeted reliever Nick Rosetta with a booming triple off the centerfield wall to drive in two runs. Spencer then cracked a triple past the first-base bag to score Sparks.
Sparks and Spencer combined for five runs batted in on six hits while Rabago drove in two runs on two hits. Ryan Cooper also posted a multiple-hit game, batting 2 for 4 with a run scored.
Brock improved to 2-0 and Jimmy Litchfield earned his first save after fanning two and holding the Dirtbags to one hit in three innings of work.
Jason Alexander suffered his first loss after giving up three runs on seven hits in three innings. Hill paced LBSU with three hits.
UCI returns to action Tuesday against Loyola Marymount at Anteater Ballpark with first pitch scheduled for 6:30 p.m.