SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. --- UC Irvine had the tying run at third in the top of the ninth but was unable to capitalize, losing 3-2 to Cal Poly Friday at Baggett Stadium.
The Anteaters took a 1-0 lead in the third as Jordan Fox cashed in one of Jerry McClanahan's two doubles. However, in the bottom of the inning, a failed pickoff by Crosby Slaught allowed Mike Miller to go from first to third and Jimmy Allen tied the game with a two-out single up the middle.
Cal Poly (19-10, 3-2) scored a pair of two-out runs in the sixth to take a 3-1 lead. Tommy Pluschkell was hit by the pitch and Evan Busby drew a walk from reliever Mitch Merten before Miller and Tim Wise slapped back-to-back RBI singles.
Mustang reliever Nick Grim led off the top of the seventh by walking Scott Gottschling and McClanahan. Reliever Reid Reilly then walked Tommy Reyes with two outs but Reilly induced a line-drive out as Cal Poly escape the inning unscathed.
It was déjà vu in the top of the ninth as Gottschling and McClanahan led off the inning by drawing a pair of walks, this time from closer Chase Johnson. Taylor Sparks moved the runners up with his third sacrifice of the night and D.J. Crumlich cut the lead to one with a run-scoring fly-ball to centerfield. However, Johnson emerged with his sixth save after inducing a grounder to second to preserve the win.
Starter Kyle Anderson (5-1) won the duel, pitching six innings and holding UCI to a run on four hits while striking out four.
Merten suffered the loss, falling to 1-1 after giving up two runs on three hits in four innings. Slaught pitched four innings, giving up a one on three hits and striking out two while walking four. McClanahan led the offense, going 2 for 2 with two doubles and two walks.
The series concludes Saturday at 1:00 p.m.