UC Irvine Scores Early, Sweeps Pilots
PORTLAND, Ore. --- UC Irvine took an early 5-1 lead and the pitching staff did the rest as the Anteaters swept Portland with a 5-3 win Saturday at Joe Etzel Field. UCI put together a 4-0 week to improve to 8-3 overall while the Pilots fell to 2-9.
Evan Brock surrendered an early run in the second and then shut out Portland over the next four frames en route to his third win of the year. Brock, who improved to 3-0, logged 6.1 innings and allowed three runs on nine hits. Jimmy Litchfield struck out two in 2.1 innings and Sam Moore earned his fifth save after registering the final out of the ninth.
Portland returned the favor in the bottom of the inning, getting three consecutive hits off Brock to push across a run and tie the game at a run apiece.
The Anteaters threatened again by loading the bases in the top of the third. Kris Paulino was hit by the pitch and Chris Rabago and Taylor Sparks both followed with singles. Connor Spencer drew a walk from starter Kurt Yinger to push across Paulino, giving UCI a 2-1 edge. Grant Palmer increased the 'Eater lead with a two-run hit up the middle and would later plate the fifth run when Evan Cassolato engaged the Pilot infield in a rundown between first and second.
Brock held the Pilots to a lone run until the seventh inning. Cody Lenahan hit a one-out single and scored on a double to the centerfield wall from Caleb Whalen. The Pilots put runners on second and third following a wild pitch by Litchfield and then scored Whalen on a sacrifice to center by Kevin Wade to cut the lead to two. Portland looked to add to the lead but Litchfield struck out Kevin Farley to halt the rally.
That would be all for Portland as Litchfield retired the next five consecutive Pilot hitters before giving up a single to Whalen in the ninth. Moore, making his team-high seventh appearance, walked Turner Gill but then struck out Wade on three pitches for the save.
Mikey Duarte led UCI at the plate with three hits while Palmer had two RBI on one hit. Paulino, Rabago and Sparks all posted two hits apiece in the win.
Yinger dropped to 0-2 after giving up five earned runs on nine hits in 5.2 innings.