Moore Breaks UCI Single-Season Record As No. 28 Anteaters Sweep Doubleheader

Sam Moore is one save shy of tying the NCAA record
Sam Moore is one save shy of tying the NCAA record

DAVIS, Calif. --- A pitchers' duel and late-inning scoring featured again in the second game of the doubleheader as No. 28 UC Irvine got past UC Davis 4-1 Saturday at Dobbins Stadium.

Closer Sam Moore posted his second save of the day to set a new UC Irvine single-season record with his 18th save and reclaim the national lead. The previous mark of 17 was held by Eric Pettis (2008, '09) and Blair Erickson (2004).

Both starting pitchers gave up just one run but similar to the first game, the decision would be left up the respective bullpens.

Elliot Surrey gave up an earned run in the Aggie first. Seth Batty hit a leadoff double in the frame and the Aggies loaded the bases on a hit batter and a base on balls. The Anteaters traded a run for a pair of outs as Nick Lynch grounded into a double play with Batty plating the run to give the Aggies the 1-0 lead.

Counterpart Spencer Koopmans kept UCI off the board for three innings before the Anteaters would tie the game in the fourth. Jonathan Munoz drew a one-out walk and beat the throw on a grounder to second by Jerry McClanahan to stay out of the double play. Grant Palmer, who gave UCI the go-ahead run in the front end of the doubleheader, hit a 2-2 pitch to the 5-6 hole for an infield single. Tino Lipson's throw got by first baseman Adam Young, allowing Palmer to take second and Munoz to score the tying run.

It was Palmer again in the eighth, driving in the go-ahead run for the second time. Taylor Sparks broke through with his first hit of the day with a leadoff single to left and took second on a fielding error by Batty. Munoz laid down a perfect bunt for the sacrifice to put Sparks on third and with two outs, Palmer drove a 1-0 offering up the middle to drive in Sparks and give UCI the one-run edge.

Surrey handed the ball off to Mitch Merten after allowing a one-out double in the seventh and Merten grounded out Evan Heptig and Batty to leave Izaak Silva stranded at third. UC Davis put runners on with one out in the eighth on a single to left and an infield hit from Nick Lynch but Jimmy Litchfield snuffed out the rally by inducing a pair of fly-ball outs.

UCI broke open the game in the ninth. John Brontsema kicked off the inning with a hard hit up the middle and came around to plate an insurance run on a double to right by Chris Rabago. Connor Spencer posted his first hit of the game with a single past the diving Lynch as Rabago scored for the 4-1 lead. 

That would be all as Moore shut the door with a shutout ninth. Surrey pitched 6.1 innings and allowed one run five hits in a no-decision. Merten collected his first win of the year to improve to 1-2 after one inning of hitless relief.  Palmer and Rabago drove in a run on two hits while Sparks also posted a pair of hits.

Koopmans tossed six innings and yielded an unearned run on three hits and also did not register the decision. Jacobson was hit with his first loss to fall to 4-1 after giving up three runs on five hits in 2.1 innings of work.

The series concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.

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