February 28, 2014

UC Irvine's Balanced Scoring Leads To Series Win Over Portland

PORTLAND, Ore. --- Kris Paulino hit his first collegiate home runs and Ryan Cooper fell just short of hitting for the cycle to lead UC Irvine to a 6-2 win Friday afternoon at Joe Etzel Field. The win secured the series for the Anteaters, who climbed to 7-3 on the year.

Paulino started the second game of the doubleheader in fine fashion as the outfielder homered to lead off the first, giving UCI a one-run lead.

The Pilots responded in their half of the inning. Cody Lenahan greeted starter Elliot Surrey with a single and following a sacrifice bunt, came around to score on a hit to left to tie the game.

Surrey sandwiched a pop-up in the fourth with a pair of walks and following a double steal by the Pilots, Caleb Whalen was pushed across a run on a grounder to short as Portland took its first lead of the game in the bottom of the fourth at 2-1.

However, it was Paulino's day as the junior belted his second home run of the game with one out in the fifth inning to knot the score at 2-2.

Cooper scored the go-ahead run in the seventh after hitting a leadoff triple and jogging home on a hard single to center by Evan Cassolato.

The 'Eaters widened the margin in the eighth as the combo of Taylor Sparks and Connor Spencer tagged reliever Brandon Snyder with a triple and an RBI double. Spencer would then take third on a failed pickoff and an error by Whalen allowed Spencer to score. The error kept the inning alive for Cooper, who cracked a double to left to drive in pinch-runner Jonathan Herkins and give UCI a 6-2 advantage. 

Cooper paced the 'Eaters by going 3 for 4 with an RBI and was a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. Spencer and Cassolato each had an RBI on two hits.

Kyle Davis earned his first collegiate win (1-0) after entering the sixth with one out and runners on first and second. The right-hander induced a fly-ball to center and then popped up Davis Tominaga to end the threat.

Sam Moore picked up for Davis in the seventh, getting the call with a runner on first and two outs. Moore struck out Dan Whitaker to take care of the Pilots in that frame and went on to set down the next six consecutive batters to notch his fourth save.

Surrey pitched a career-best 5.1 innings and limited Portland to two runs on five hits in the no-decision.

The series concludes Saturday at withe first pitch moved to noon.

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