February 19, 2012

Tommy Reyes Drives In Career-High As UC Irvine Downs Texas Southern

HOUSTON, Tex. --- Tommy Reyes drove in a career-high four RBI to lead No. 24 UC Irvine to a 5-2 win over Texas Southern Sunday at the MLB Urban Invitational at Minute Maid Park.

Reyes, batting leadoff, was 2 for 4 with a double, a triple and a walk as the Anteaters improved to 3-0. Newcomer Taylor Sparks also had a stellar day at the plate, posting three hits, including a triple and scoring three runs.

UCI starter Andrew Thurman opened the game with consecutive walks and yielded a run on a sacrifice fly to Chris Deleon. However, the sophomore rebounded and went on to pitch 2.1 innings with two strikeouts and two walks before handing the ball off the Mark Trentacosta.

UCI quickly erased TSU's lead in the top of the second as Sparks started a two-out rally with a sharp single under the glove of diving shortstop Ray Hernandez and came around to score on Reyes' two-out triple to left-centerfield.

Sparks kicked off a UCI rally again in the fourth, driving a 2-0 pitch to deep centerfield for a one-out triple and scored easily on a groundball to short by Reyes, his second RBI of the game.

It was Texas Southern's turn to strike back as the Tigers knotted the score in the bottom of the inning. Robert Pearson was hit by the pitch with one out and plated the tying run on a booming double off the left-field wall by Lacy Jackson.

UCI went to redshirt sophomore Evan Brock in the fifth and the right-hander shut down TSU for 2.2 innings, striking out three and scattering three hits to collect his first win since 2010. 

The Anteaters took the lead for good in the seventh as Scott Gottschling executed on the sacrifice to squeeze Jordan Fox home, cashing in on a one-out triple by the senior first baseman.

In the UCI eighth, designated hitter Chris Rabago drew a four-pitch walk and took second on the sacrifice from Jeff Stephens. Sparks was then issued a two-out walk and Reyes delivered a double to right-centerfield to give the Anteaters the three-run lead.

Jimmy Litchfield held Texas Southern hitless in 1.1 relief innings, striking out two and Race Parmenter struck out two in a scoreless ninth to earn his first save.

TSU's Frank Cruz IV fell to 0-1 after giving up the eventual game-winning run. Aaron Warren was 3 for 3 at the plate for the Tigers.

UCI returns to Anteater Ballpark Monday (Feb. 20) to host UNLV at 2:00 p.m.

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