Pacific Baseball: Martin's RBI Gives Pacific Come-From-Behind Victory Over UC Riverside, 7-6
Trailing by one run in the bottom of the ninth inning, the Pacific baseball team dug deep in front of its home crowd and plated two runs in the bottom of the ninth to take a final 7-6 victory over UC Riverside on Friday, April 9.
With the win Pacific improved to 18-10 on the year and 2-2 in Big West Conference play, while the Highlanders dropped to 14-10 and 2-2 in conference action.
"I thought that the guys were more focused and more patient at the plate," head coach Ed Sprague said. "I was glad that we got to their pitcher and that put us in a good position to win."
Trailing 6-5 entering the bottom of the ninth inning, Pacific was able to get runners on base and turn around some of the previous week's troubles, when Pacific struggled to plate runners in scoring position against Long Beach State and Santa Clara. Derek Speigner came on the mound for the Highlanders to replace starter RHP Matt Andriese in a save situation. He walked senior Ben Gorang (Turlock, Calif.) to lead off the inning and then advanced Gorang into scoring position after a balk at the mound. Senior Joe Oliveira (San Diego, Calif.) then laid down in bunt in hopes of advancing his runner. Third baseman Eddie Young did not have a play on the ball, and held on as Oliveira was safely at first with a single while Gorang moved over to third. In the following at-bat, junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) drew a four-pitch walk to load the bases.
Trailing by one with the bases loaded and no one out, UC Riverside went to the bullpen once again and replaced Speigner with Mike Wolford. Sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) only needed to see one pitch before he launched a sacrifice fly into center field to score Gorang from third and tie the game, 6-6. Next up, junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) stood at the plate, with the hopes of shouldering the load and advancing his two runners. Martin hit a shallow single into left center that just bounced before the glove of center fielder Tony Nix. The safe call allowed Oliveira to come around from second and gave Pacific the come-from-behind 7-6 victory.
UC Riverside jumped on the scoreboard first to take an early 1-0 lead after two and a half innings. The Tigers then came back and took the lead with three runs off three hits in the bottom of the third.
Longmire started off the rally with a single to put the first runners aboard. One out later, Martin grounded out to second as Longmire advanced into scoring position at second base. Then senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) drew a full-count walk and both runners were able to advance 90 feet after a wild pitch from Andriese. Junior J.B. Brown (Alvin, Texas) cleared the bases and gave Pacific a 2-1 lead with a one-out double down the left field line. Brown then came home and scored with the next batter, as freshman John Haberman (Stockton, Calif.) singled to give Pacific a 3-1 lead.
The Tigers added to their lead with another run in the bottom of the fourth, taking a 4-1 lead over the Highlanders. One inning later, UC Riverside came back against Pacific's starter, RHP Marcus Pointer (Pacifica, Calif.) with three more runs in the top of the fifth to knot up the score at 4-4. UC Riverside posted another run in the top of the seventh for a 5-4 lead.
Pacific was able to come back and stay in the game with another run in the bottom of the seventh inning. With one out Longmire shot off the game's first homerun over the rightfield wall and single-handedly gave Pacific the game-tying fifth run with the score at 5-5.
UC Riverside struck one final time before Pacific's game-changing ninth inning, when the Highlanders posted another run in the top of the eighth. RHP Hunter Carnevale (Roseville, Calif.) came in relief for Pointer and was able to keep the Highlanders scoreless in the top of the ninth. Pacific then rallied from behind to give Carnevale his first win of the season, as the righty improved to 1-3 on the year. Speigner took the loss in the blown save and fell to 1-1 on the year.
Longmire paced Pacific at the plate, going 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored after his homerun. Martin was close behind with a 2-for-5 showing and the game-winning RBI. With the victory the Tigers snapped a three-game losing streak and got back to winning in conference action.
The Tigers next return to action with a doubleheader to close out the series on Saturday, April 10. Game times are slated for 2 p.m. and 6 p.m.