CORVALLIS, Ore. --- UC Irvine took down No. 1 national seed Oregon State Monday to advance to super regional action with a 4-2 win in the Corvallis Regional finale Monday at Goss Stadium.
UCI (38-23) will take on Oklahoma State in the Stillwater Super Regional with dates and times to be announced by the NCAA Tuesday morning. The Anteaters defeated UNLV to open regional action and then stunned the Beavers with a 14-2 win Saturday. OSU bounced back with a 4-0 shutout of UCI to force the deciding game. UCI makes its fourth super regional appearance in its Division I history."Everybody can imagine, we're justifiably proud of our team," said head coach Mike Gillespie.
"We were fortunate tonight and caught a few breaks. The double play at the end of the game was huge. Coaches ask two things of their teams; to give the full max of what they have, and to do the things we train and practice so much for. If we were asked if we did those things, I'd have to say we did."
The Anteaters handed the ball to senior All-American Andrew Morales, who pitched on short rest and the right-hander delivered by dealing 4.1 innings and striking out five while holding the Beavers to a run on three hits. Morales gave way to junior Evan Manarino, who stymied the Beaver offense for 3.1 innings.
The crafty lefty retired eight of the first nine batters he faced, including striking out the side in the seventh and would leave in the eighth with two outs and a runner on third after surrendering a triple. Mitch Merten came out of the bullpen and allowed Nick Rulli to score on a wild pitch but rebounded by inducing a fly-ball to center to end the inning. Elliot Surrey, making his first appearance in relief, put two runners on in the top of the ninth but got Caleb Hamilton to hit into a game-inning double-play to log his first save.
After OSU scored a run in the third on a RBI fielder's choice from Jeff Hendrix, UCI tied the game in the fifth without a hit. Jake Thompson struck out Kris Paulino to start the inning but the pitch got away from catcher Logan Ice, allowing Paulino to take first. After the sacrifice from Adam Alcantara, a wild pitch to pinch hitter Ryan Cooper put Paulino on third and Cooper capitalized by hitting a high chopper off the glove of Thompson to drive in the tying run.
UCI took the lead for good in the sixth. Back-to-back singles by Chris Rabago and Connor Spencer opened the door for the 'Eaters and the duo advanced a base on a sacrifice before Jonathan Munoz was intentionally walked to load the bases. Grant Palmer drove a 1-0 offering from Thompson through the left side to score Rabago and give UCI the 2-1 lead. With two outs, Alcantara was hit by a pitch, pushing across Spencer to put the Anteaters in front 3-1.
Taylor Sparks singled to lead off the seventh inning and Spencer drew an intentional walk before McClanahan loaded the bases with a hit to left. With one out, Munoz drove a 1-1 pitch from Andrew Moore that was smothered by first baseman Kavin Keyes, but Sparks scored on the play for the 4-1 advantage.
The Beavers would score on a wild pitch in the top of the eighth to make it 4-2, before Surrey shut the door.
Manarino earned the win to improve to 4-3 with Merten and Surrey logging 1.1 scoreless innings in relief.