IRVINE, Calif. --- Connor Spencer was 4 for 4 with three RBI to lead UC Irvine to a 10-2 win over Cal State Northridge Sunday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. The win lifted the Anteaters to 24-11 overall and 8-1 in the Big West.
Spencer nearly hit for the cycle, falling a home run shy of the feat, and drove in the game-winning run in the first with an RBI triple to right before crossing home plate on a passed ball to give the team a 2-0 lead. The first baseman singled, then doubled and singled again in the seventh before capping the day with a sacrifice fly to center. It was the second time this year the first baseman batted 4 for 4 as he drove in two runs and scored once in the win against Bakersfield last month.
UCI starter Evan Brock retired the first six batters he faced before giving up back-to-back singles in the third with Brett Balkan driving in Michael Livingston. The Matadors then loaded the bases with one out for Chester Pak. Brock looked to be out of the inning as Pak hit a bouncer to short. Sparks found Mikey Duarte for the force at second but Duarte lost the ball on the transfer and Ryan Raslowsky was called safe at second with Balkan to plating the tying run.
Taylor Sparks matched the first-inning RBI triple with one of his own in the third off starter John Salas to drive in Spencer for the go-ahead run and gave UCI a 4-2 lead on the sacrifice fly from Jerry McClanahan.
In the fourth, the Anteaters put runners on first and second for Grant Palmer, who singled in a run. Chris Rabago drove the first pitch he was offered to center for the sacrifice and Spencer's double would cap the three-run inning.
After the second, Brock (6-2) remained firmly in control on the mound. The right-hander allowed a one-out triple in the fourth but left the runner stranded after retiring the next two batters. CSUN then put runners on first and second with two outs but Brock popped up Balkan to end the inning.
John Brontsema came off the bench in the bottom of the eighth and slapped an RBI hit to right and later came around to score on a Rabago double.
Rabago was 2 for 4 with two RBI while Palmer and McClanahan each drove in a run on two hits.
Salas fell to 4-2 after giving up seven runs on eight hits in 3.1 innings. Livingston led the Matadors with two hits.