Pacific Baseball: Solid Two-Out Hitting Gives Pacific Series Over No. 25 UC Irvine With 7-2 Win
It only took two innings for the Pacific baseball team to claim its first series over No. 25 UC Irvine since May 2005, with solid two-out hitting to pave the way for a 7-2 victory on Sunday, April 18.
With the win the Tigers improved to 22-12 overall and 5-4 in the Big West Conference while the Anteaters dropped to 20-13 and 5-4 in conference action.
All the Tigers needed was the third inning to take the lead and stay ahead for the remainder of the game, as sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) tallied the go-ahead run for the second-straight day. With one out and senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) aboard at first, senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) reached on a fielders choice bunt back up to the pitcher Eric Pettis, to eliminate Gorang at second and put two outs on the board. During junior Nick Longmire's (San Diego, Calif.) plate appearance, Oliveira stole second and then advanced only 90 feet from scoring at third base, when catcher Francis Larson overthrew the ball into center field for the game's first error. Longmire worked a full-count pitch to draw a walk, keeping runners at the corners with two outs in the inning.
Then the switch-hitting Christopher came in the clutch for the second time for the Tigers, driving in both runners with a double into right center field to give Pacific the quick 2-0 lead. Christopher tallied what would prove to be the go-ahead run when junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) smashed another double to swap places and bring home Christopher for the 3-0 lead to extend the two-out rally. Senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) drove in the fourth run of the inning when he singled up the middle and brought home Martin from second base. Pacific sprinted out to a 4-0 lead after only the third inning.
In the bottom half of the inning, starting pitcher senior RHP Jake Hummel (Peoria, Ariz.) sent down the Anteaters in order, just like he did in the bottom of the first inning to preserve Pacific's lead. He also gave Pacific the chance to come back and tack on three more runs in the top of the fourth.
Leading 4-0 the Tigers went to work with one out as freshman John Haberman (Stockton, Calif.) doubled a 3-2 pitch into left centerfield. As Gorang flied out to center in the next at-bat, the Tigers were once again faced with the challenge of scoring the runner with two outs in the frame. Oliveira wasted no time by singling to third base for the second baserunner of the fourth inning and moved Haberman to third base. Longmire tried to continue the inning and he hit into a fielder's choice at second base, while shortstop Tommy Reyes lost the ball thrown to him at second base. That allowed Oliveira to move into second base and keep Longmire at first, ultimately bringing home Haberman unearned from third base with two outs still in the inning. Pacific added to its 5-0 lead. Then as he did in the previous inning, Christopher came up huge once more for Pacific launching a triple down the right field line to bring home both Oliveira and Longmire for the final 7-0 lead.
Haberman, despite allowing 11 baserunners, was able to get out of several jams and only surrendered two runs through 7.1 innings of work. With only one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, Hummel allowed one run to come through and limited the scoring damage to stay ahead 7-1. The same situation arose again in the bottom of the eighth. Hummel allowed two baserunners before recording the first out by fanning Larson. Another single and an error brought in the second run of the game for the Anteaters, with the tying run one deck and a 7-2 score. Pacific then went to the bullpen and junior Thomas Berolzheimer (Stockton, Calif.) closed out the inning by recording the next two outs and keeping Hummel in line for the victory.
The bullpen dazzled again in the ninth, with Pacific out ahead 7-2. Junior Robbie Richardson (Lodi, Calif.) struck out the first two batters he faced and then induced a fly out to right field from Jeff Cusick to seal the game and give Pacific the victory.
Offensively Christopher led the Tigers with a 2-for-5 plate appearance that included four RBI after his two extra base hits. Hummel earned his fourth victory of the year on the hill and improved to 4-2, while Pettis was tagged with the loss and dropped to 5-2.
Pacific is now 3-2 against top 25-ranked opponents this season.
Pacific next returns to action to continue its road swing to No. 19 California for a 2:30 first pitch on Tuesday, April 20.