No. 10 UC Irvine Ends Season With Fourth 40-Win Season
`EATERS POST THIRD 40-WIN SEASON UNDER GILLESPIE: UC Irvine ended the year 43-18, marking the third time head coach Mike Gillespie has led the Anteaters to 40 or more wins in his four-year tenure. UCI finished second in the Big West at 16-8 and the program has now finished third or higher six consecutive seasons.
UCI MAKES THIRD SUPER REGIONAL APPEARANCE: The Anteaters advanced to its second super regional appearance under Gillespie and third time overall in UCI's Division I history. UCI swept through the Los Angele Regional, defeating a trio of conference champions to move on to Charlottesville, Virginia to take on the Cavaliers. UCI was shut out 6-0 in the opening game of the series but rebounded with a 6-4, come-from-behind win to force the rubber game. The Anteaters then suffered a 3-2 loss in the series finale.
HURST SIGNS WITH YANKEES AS FREE AGENT: Senior Jonathan Hurst (Orange/Cypress College) signed as a free agent with the New York Yankees. Hurst, who has caught, played in the outfield and been a designated hitter for UCI, posted 14 hits, including three doubles, a triple with 10 RBI in 32 games played. At the Los Angeles Regional, Hurst's nine-pitch at-bat to open the ninth against UCLA sparked UCI's eventual 4-2 win.
FIVE ANTEATERS DRAFTED BY MLB CLUBS: Five current UC Irvine players were drafted in the 2011 Major League First-Year Player Draft. Matt Summers (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral HS) was a fourth-round pick by the Minnesota Twins and was followed by Drew Hillman (Lake Forest/Orange Coast College), who was selected in the 18th round by the Philadelphia Phillies. Brian Hernandez was the 27th-round choice by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. On the third day of the draft, D.J. Crumlich (Irvine/HS) was taken in the 38th round by the Pittsburgh Pirates and Jordan Leyland (San Dimas/HS) was selected in the 44th round by the Tampa Bay Rays.
REYES, CRUMLICH PERFORM IN POST-SEASON: Tommy Reyes (Rancho Cucamonga/Bishop Amat HS) and D.J Crumlich posted identical averages of .476 (10 for 21) in six NCAA post-season games to lead the Anteaters.
Reyes scored five times and hit three doubles while driving in two runs. Reyes, who was voted the Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament second baseman, was 3 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored against Fresno State. He singled and scored the team's first run against San Francisco, going 1 for 3, and capped regional action by scoring the team's first run against UCLA after hitting a double. In Charlottesville, Reyes was held hitless in the series opener but then posted two hits apiece in the next two games. The junior ended the season with a .289 average and logged 50 hits with 11 doubles and 29 RBI.
Crumlich, batting leadoff, scored two runs to go along with a double and two runs batted in. Named a Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament shortstop, Crumlich recorded a hit in all six post-season games for UCI, including a pair of three-hit games. Crumlich was 3 for 5 with an RBI and a run scored against Fresno State. He then had a hit and a sacrifice fly against the Dons. Against UCLA, Crumlich reached first in three of four plate appearances and continued his hit streak with a single against Virginia. In the final game of the series, he was 3 for 4 with a double and a run scored and ended the season with a .300 batting average. Crumlich owned a Big West-leading 51 runs scored and had 70 hits. He also concluded the year as the team's doubles leader with 15 while driving in 27 runs.
SHAEFFER STRONG IN NCAA ACTION: Catcher Ronnie Shaeffer (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) was second on the team with six post-season RBI while batting .368. The junior went 7 for 19 at the plate with a double, posting three straight multiple-hit games at the Los Angeles Regional to win Most Outstanding Player honors. Shaeffer, also the all-tournament catcher, was 2 for 4 with three RBI against Fresno State and then added a 2-for-3 outing against San Francisco. Against the Bruins, he was 2 for 4 and delivered the walk-off hit to cap a two-run, come-from-behind win. Shaeffer came up clutch again against Virginia, driving in the game-tying run in the middle contest. He finished the season batting .264 with 55 hits and 31 RBI.
Shaeffer was a defensive gem for the `Eaters, throwing out 36 of 63 base-runners to hold opposing teams to a .429 steal average. In three seasons, Shaeffer has held opposing teams to 38 stolen bases in 81 attempts for a .469 steal average, the lowest among UCI's catchers in the new era of Anteater Baseball.
LITCHFIELD FINISHES SECOND IN RECORDS: Freshman Jimmy Litchfield (La Habra/Sonora HS) made 34 appearances on the mound this season, tying for second in the UCI single-season records with Dylan Axelrod, who posted 34 appearances in 2007. Litchfield was 2-1 with a 2.89 ERA in his first-year campaign. He struck out 34 batters in 43.2 innings and walked just seven while allowing 14 earned runs on 43 hits and registering three saves. Anteater alum Gary Wheelock is the single-season record holder with 35 appearances recorded in 1972.
In post-season play, Litchfield made three appearances, striking out three and giving up one run on three hits in 6.2 innings of work. After pitching two shutout innings against the Bulldogs, Litchfield entered in the ninth against San Francisco. With the tying run at second with two outs, Litchfield struck out the final batter of the game to earn the save. He then pitched 4.1 relief innings against Virginia and struck out one while allowing a run on three hits.
HERNANDEZ CLIMBS INTO RECORD BOOKS: Brian Hernandez (Sylmar/College of the Canyons) finished the season as the team leader in average at .341 while posting 86 hits to move into a tie for ninth in the program's single-season records. Hernandez, who tied Jeff Malinoff (1974) for the spot, was second on the team in runs scored with 47 while logging 12 doubles and 32 RBI. He closed for the `Eaters, recording 12 saves and posting a 3-2 record with a 3.29 ERA. The right-hander struck out 23 in 27.1 innings and allowed 10 earned runs. Hernandez was named the Los Angeles Regional All-Tournament third baseman.
WHITEHOUSE, SUMMERS FINISH IN SINGLE-SEASON TOP 10: Pitchers Matt Whitehouse (Diamond Bar/Damien HS) and Matt Summers both sit in the top 10 of the UCI season records in ERA. The sophomore lefty posted a 2.12 ERA to take over the number five spot in the annals. Whitehouse was undefeated at 4-0 and made 23 appearances. He struck out 63 in 72.1 innings and held opposing batters to a .207 batting average. He walked 15 while giving up 17 earned runs and pitched in three combined shutouts.
Summers held a 2.15 ERA to finish seventh in the records. Summers, who was 11-4 on the mound, struck out 100 batters to finish 11th in strikeouts recorded in a season and hurled 117 innings. The Big West Pitcher of the Year held the opposition to a .195 average and gave up 28 earned runs while pitching two complete-games. His 17 starts tied for eighth in the UCI records list.
THURMAN GETS POST-SEASON WIN: Freshman Andrew Thurman (Orange/Orange Lutheran HS) earned his first post-season win after pitching four strong innings in relief against Virginia. The right-hander struck out four and did not walk a batter while giving up a run on three hits. Thurman made the start against UCLA and dealt 5.1 innings, striking out two, walking five and giving up three runs in the no-decision. Thurman was 4-3 with a 3.82 ERA. He fanned 64 in 75.1 innings while giving up 32 earned runs and walking 21.
SLAUGHT FINISHES SEASON SECOND IN WINS: Junior Crosby Slaught (Santa Barbara/HS) registered a 7-2 win-loss record on the mound to finish second on the team in wins with seven. Slaught pitched 68.2 innings and struck out 47 while giving up 30 earned runs. Slaught made one appearance in NCAA Tournament play, pitching three shutout innings in the deciding game against Virginia. He walked one and scattered four hits before handing the ball off to the Anteater bullpen.
`EATERS END SEASON AT No. 1 VIRGINIA: The Anteaters met up with Virginia for the second time in NCAA postseason action and nearly pulled off the upset of their fourth conference champion.
UCI was held scoreless in the opening game at 6-0. Matt Summers had a six-game win streak snapped after giving up five runs on nine hits in six innings. The Anteaters were held to four hits, leaving eight runners stranded.
Virginia looked to sweep the Anteaters, taking a 3-0 lead after five innings in the middle game. However, Drew Hillman's solo home run ignited the UCI offense and the team tied the game in the seventh by capitalizing on a Cavalier error and receiving an RBI hit from Ronnie Shaeffer. Trailing 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth, UCI, the designated home team, scored three runs in the bottom of the frame on a clutch two-run double by Jordan Leyland and an RBI single from Tommy Reyes. Andrew Thurman, who picked up for Matt Whitehouse in the sixth, went on to retire the ninth in order for the win. Whitehouse held Virginia to three runs (one earned) in five innings while striking out four in the no-decision.
The series finale proved to be a pitching duel as both teams were held to one run apiece through six innings. UCI took the first lead of the game in the fourth on a run-scoring groundout by Brian Hernandez. Virginia tied the game on a solo home run in the sixth but UCI reclaimed the lead in the ninth on a Cavalier error that would allow Sean Madigan (Yorba Linda/Servite HS) to score. However, Virginia loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth and got a two-run single off the bat of Chris Taylor to win the game. Matt Summers suffered the loss after giving up the game-tying and game-winning runs.