IRVINE, Calif. --- Race Parmenter, facing the tying run in the ninth, preserved a two-run lead for No. 30 UC Irvine in a 6-4 win Friday over Baylor at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
With UCI holding a two-run lead in the ninth, Parmenter struck out Jake Miller and Logan Brown but then gave up a double to Mitch Price before walking pinch hitter Jimmy Landes and bringing Nathan Orf to the plate. Orf had sparked the Bears with a three-run home run in his previous at-bat, trimming UCI's 6-1 lead to two in the top of the seventh. However, Parmenter induced a groundball to third baseman Taylor Sparks who connected with first baseman Connor Spencer to end the game.
UCI starting pitcher, Andrew Thurman, earned the win after 5.2 strong innings, striking out four and scattering five hits while walking none. Cal Towey hit a two-out, RBI double off Thurman in the Baylor first to put the Bears on the board but that would be all as Thurman held Baylor scoreless through the next 4.2 innings.
The third inning was the charm for the Anteaters, who brought 10 batters to the plate in the frame. UCI loaded the bases with two outs for Dominique Taylor, who lined a single up the middle to drive in the tying and go-ahead runs. Spencer, Sparks and Ronnie Shaeffer then followed with three consecutive RBI singles as UCI emerged with a 5-1 lead.
Jeff Stephens tacked on a run in the sixth, delivering a two-out hit to score Shaeffer, who was 3 for 4 with an RBI and a run scored.
However, Baylor rallied behind Orf's three-run home run off reliever Andrew Morales to trail the Anteaters by two. Freshman Elliot Surrey, making his collegiate debut on the mound, retired the final batter of the seventh and then pitched a perfect eighth before giving way to Parmenter.
Spencer also keyed the Anteater offense, batting 3 for 4, including a double with an RBI and a run scored while Stephens posted an RBI on two hits.
Baylor starter Ryan Smith suffered the loss after giving up five runs on three hits in 2.2 innings.
The series continues Saturday at 1:00 p.m.