Pacific Baseball Outslugs No. 21 UC Irvine
The Pacific baseball team hung 14 runs on No. 21 UC Irvine Saturday and held on, 14-13, for the Tigers' second win over a ranked opponent this season. CF Tyler Sullivan homered and drove in five.
Pacific posted a nine-run fourth inning and scored a season-high in runs. The Tigers left only four men on base, and won despite being out-hit 22-12. UC Irvine nearly rallied back from down 14-7 but RHP Patrick Weigel coaxed a game-ending double-play with the bases loaded.
Catcher/RHP Jason Taasaas drove in three with a home run, while RF/LF Brett Sullivan went two-for-four with two RBI. PH/RF Taylor Murphy aded a pair of RBI while DH Gio Brusa walked four times and scored three runs.
UC Irvine opened the scoring with a triple and a sacrifice fly, a double and an RBI single from 3B Taylor Sparks in the first inning for a 2-0 lead.
Pacific answered with runs in the first and second. Tyler Sullivan doubled to right and scored on an RBI single by Brett Sullivan. In the second, the Tigers tied it at 2-2 as Brusa walked, stole second and 2B Louis Mejia singled up the middle for his first RBI.
The Anteaters responded right back with two in the top of the third.
Taylor reached on an error, and came in to score on an RBI single from DH Ronnie Shaeffer. C Jerry McClanahan added a single to plate Shaeffer for a 4-2 lead.
But Pacific unloaded in the fourth. Taasaas was robbed of a double in centerfield to open the inning and then 11 straight Tigers reached base with one out. Brusa walked, LF/2B Tyger Pederson singled, SS J.J. Wagner was hit by pitch and UC Irvine replaced starter Matt Whitehouse with RHP Mitch Merten. Murphy singled through the right side for two runs to tie the game at 4-4, and Tyler Sullivan followed with his first career home run, a three-run blast to right center, for a 7-4 Pacific lead.
Brett Sullivan walked and 1B Erik Lockwood posted an RBI doubled to right to chase Merton. LHP Jimmy Litchfield entered, but SS Dustin Torchio greeted him with a single, and then Taasaas drilled a three-run home run to the deepest part of the ballpark, to the right of the 405 sign in centerfield. Brusa walked again before Litchfield recorded the last two outs of the inning.
The nine runs in the inning, and 14 batters in the inning were both season-highs for Pacific.
UC Irvine began to chip away with a run in the fifth on an RBI double by Sparks, and two in the seventh on a double by Shaeffer and an RBI single by McClanahan. Those three runs came off RHP Mike Hager, who tossed three-plus innings in relief of starter LHP Kyle Crawford.
Pacific tallied three in the bottom of the seventh, as Brusa walked, Pederson laid down a sacrifice, Wagner singled through the left side and Tyler Sullivan doubled home two runs. Brett Sullivan singled to right for the third run and a 14-7 lead.
The Anteaters hung five runs in the eighth on six hits, as Taylor hit a three-run homer to left and 1B Connor Spencer picked up a two-run single before Taasaas got out of the inning.
In the ninth, the Anteaters posted a pair of singles and back-to-back hit-by-pitches with out out to load the bases and pull within one. But Weigel forced a 6-4-3 double play to end the ballgame and earn his first save of the year.
The Tigers are now 10-23 overall, 3-8 in Big West play and earn their second win over a ranked opponent. On March 3, Pacific walked off with a 4-3 win in the ninth over then-No. 2 Arkansas.
UC Irvine falls to 24-11 overall, 6-5 in Big West action. Whitehouse (3-4) took the loss, allowing five earned in 3.1 innings.
Game three of the series is Sunday at 1 p.m.