Pacific Baseball Rallies But Falls To No. 25 UC Irvine, 4-2
In search of its first win over No. 25 UC Irvine in over three years, the Pacific baseball team's ninth inning rally fell short as the Tigers fell 4-2 on Friday, April 16.
With the loss Pacific dropped to 20-12 on the year and 3-4 in Big West Conference play while the Anteaters improved to 20-11 and 5-2 in the conference.
Trailing 1-0 as starter LHP Daniel Bibona cruised through the minimum number of batters, Pacific tried to break up the hitless contest in the top of the fourth inning. Junior Nick Longmire (San Diego, Calif.) went to work against Bibona first and led off the inning driving a 1-1 pitch into left center field for a double as the first runner aboard and in scoring position. Sophomore Brett Christopher (Livermore, Calif.) then advanced Longmire to third on a sacrifice bunt to put one out in the inning. And it was all up to junior Brian Martin (Livermore, Calif.) who wasted no time with his runner in scoring position, knocking a single into right field to tie the game 1-1 after bringing home Longmire.
The Anteaters came back and took the lead once again in the bottom of the inning, plating one more for a 2-1 lead. They would get another run in the bottom of the fifth and sprinted out to a 3-1 lead. Two more times the Tigers were able to move runners into scoring position, but could not bring them around to score.
In the top of the sixth, Longmire reached via fielding error from third baseman Brian Hernandez. Again Christopher performed beautifully after laying down another sacrifice bunt that moved Longmire over to second base. However, the rest of the order ran into trouble against Bibona and Longmire remained stranded at second through the end of the top of the inning.
Pacific charged back with two hits in the top of the eighth and had the tying run on base but still found trouble bringing runners home. The bats came alive with two outs already in the inning. Christopher led off the two-out rally with a first-pitch single into center field. Then Martin followed through with another single off a full-count pitch that had Christopher off before the pitch crossed the plate. Martin found the gap up the middle and Christopher sprinted around to third base. But both runners remained stranded on the bases as senior Mike Walker (Marysville, Calif.) tried to bring them home. Walker's shot just fell short of clearing the center field wall, as he flew out to the farthest part of the field and ended the inning.
UC Irvine found itself in a similar situation in the bottom half of the eighth, with two outs and two runners aboard. The Anteaters remained calm against junior RHP Marcus Pointer (Pacifica, Calif.) and were able to sneak in an unearned run to take a 4-1 lead.
Heading into the last scheduled inning, Pacific got off to a hot start when junior J.B. Brown (Alvin, Texas) smashed the first pitch he saw over the right field wall for a homerun that put Pacific within two, trailing 4-2. Two outs later, freshman Dustin Torchio (Santa Cruz, Calif.) kept the inning alive as he grounded right to shortstop D.J. Crumlich, who lost the ball behind him into center field and allowed Torchio to reach on an error. However, the Tigers could not bring home their runner and fell by a final score of 4-2.
Bibona garnered the win for the Anteaters and improved to 6-2 on the year, while RHP Eric Pettis tallied his sixth save of the season. Pointer suffered his first loss of the year and dropped to 6-1 from the mound in 2010.
The Tigers will look to even the series on Saturday, April 17 for a 1 p.m. first pitch.