Sparks, Spencer Combine For Seven RBI As Anteaters Zip Up Series Against 'Zags
IRVINE, Calif. --- UC Irvine scored a season-high 11 runs as the Anteaters secured the series with an 11-2 win over Gonzaga Sunday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Taylor Sparks led the team, belting two doubles and a triple to drive in four runs while Connor Spencer laced two triples and drove in three runs as the duo combined for five hits and seven runs batted in.
It was Sparks who put the Anteaters on the board in the bottom of the first after doubling a first-pitch offering from starter Brandon Bailey to capitalize on Chris Rabago's one-out double.
The 'Zags tied the game in the second on a solo home run from Taylor Jones but UCI took the lead for good in the third on Spencer's two-run triple to the centerfield wall that scored Kris Paulino and Sparks.
The duo struck again in the fifth with Sparks driving in Rabago with a double down the left-field line and Spencer tripling in Sparks for the 6-1 lead.
Gonzaga added a run in the sixth and UCI responded with four runs in the bottom of the frame as Rabago drew a bases-loaded walk and Sparks logged his third triple of the year, good for a two-run hit.
Grant Palmer, who was 2 for 4, singled in pinch-hitter Raul Silva-Martinez in the eight to cap the scoring and Justin Castro also added two hits to the 'Eater offense. Rabago scored a team-high three runs to go along with two hits and an RBI.
UCI lefty, Elliot Surrey, earned his first win of the year to improve to 1-1 after pitching five innings and limiting the Bulldogs to two runs on seven hits. Kyle Davis shut out the 'Zags in two innings of one-hit relief while Mitch Merten made his first appearance of the year and tossed a shutout frame. Michael Miller also made his first appearance of the season and struck out one while surrendering a hit in the Gonzaga ninth.
Bailey fell to 0-3 after giving up six runs on nine hits in five innings. Beau Bozett and Caleb Wood led the team with two hits each.
The series concludes Monday at 6:30 p.m.