Renae Martinez Provides Ninth-Inning Heroics As Anteaters Sweep Aggies
DAVIS, Calif. --- Renae Martinez drove in his first runs as an Anteater, flaring the ninth pitch of the at-bat in the ninth inning to break a 1-1 tie and give UCI a 3-1 victory Sunday at Dobbins Stadium. With the sweep, UCI improves to 11-1 in the Big West and 28-14 overall.
After scoring the first run of the game in the first, the Anteaters were shut out over the next seven innings but would come up big in the ninth. With one out in the frame, Tanner Bily made a diving catch on a drive to right to rob Connor Spencer of extra bases. Taylor Sparks extended the inning by working a two-out walk from starter Evan Wolf. Jonathan Munoz followed with an infield single and Evan Cassolato was walked to load the bases for Martinez. The catcher worked the count full and fouled off two pitches before dunking the ball in right field to drive in Sparks and Munoz. The Anteaters gambled and waved the speedy Cassolato around from first but Bily threw a strike to catcher Izaak Silva in time to get the outfielder for the final out.
Starters Evan Brock and Wolf both twirled gems for their teams, giving up just one run apiece through the first eight innings. Brock earned his seventh win (7-3) to tie for the team lead after striking out three, limiting the Aggies to three hits and ended his outing by retiring nine straight batters.
The Anteaters went to closer Sam Moore in the bottom of the ninth, who yielded an infield single to Tino Lipson before retiring the next three Aggie batters to post his third save of the series and 19th of the year.
Grant Palmer, who keyed the 'Eater offense yesterday, kick-started the offense in the first on a flare to center that got past the diving Kevin Barker for a double. Palmer took third on the bunt from Chris Rabago and scored on a fly ball to center by Connor Spencer.
Barker delivered in the bottom of the first for UC Davis with a two-out double and plated the tying run on Adam Young's RBI hit to knot the score at 1-1.
Wolf suffered the loss, pitching nine innings and giving up three runs on five hits to fall to 3-4.
Munoz led UCI, hitting 3 for 4 with Martinez driving in the game-winning runs.