Taylor-Made Win As No. 30 UC Irvine Sweeps No. 23 Bears
Taylor and Sparks both went 3 for 4 at the plate with Taylor driving in a team-high five RBI with a run scored. Sparks had four runs batted in while scoring twice. Jerry McClanahan hit his first home run of the season, a three-run smack over the left-field wall and freshman Mikey Duarte impressed in his collegiate debut, batting 3 for 4 with an RBI and three runs scored.
UCI, which improved to 3-0, jumped on the board in the first inning on Sparks' ringing double to center to score Jeff Stephens who hit the first-pitch of the game to left for a clean single.
The Bears quickly tied the score in the top of the second as Nate Goodwin doubled off starter Evan Brock to score Duncan Wendel. A run-scoring triple by Adam Toth and a sacrifice fly by Goodwin in the top of the fourth gave Baylor a 3-1 lead.
Sparks struck again in the fourth, crushing a 3-1 pitch to left for his first home run of the season to trim the Baylor lead to one.
UCI then snapped an Anteater Ballpark single-inning scoring record in the fifth with 11 runs to break the game wide open. Duarte lit the fire for the offense with a leadoff double for his first collegiate hit and would eventually cross the plate as the tying run on Taylor's one-out sacrifice fly to right. With two outs in the inning, starter Dillon Newman was lifted for Crayton Bear, who gave up a single to Spencer and hit Sparks with the pitch to put runners on first and second. Catcher Ronnie Shaeffer capitalized and gave UCI the lead with a single through the left side to drive in Spencer. McClanahan then greeted reliever Josh Michalec by hitting the first pitch over the left-field wall, extending UCI's lead to 7-3. Scott Gottschling was hit by the pitch and Chris Rabago hit a 2-1 pitch off the glove of Michalec for a single to again set up a first and second situation for UCI. Duarte delivered again in his second at-bat of the inning with a hit to center to score Gottschling. The Baylor bullpen continued to struggle as reliever Hunter Abbe entered and issued a walk to Stephens and then gave up a pair of two-run hits to both Taylor and Sparks.
Taylor fended the day with a two-run double to left in the sixth for UCI.
Brock pitched four innings, striking out three while allowing three runs. Andrew Morales earned the win in relief after pitching two shutout innings and striking out two while walking one. Jimmy Litchfield, Sam Moore and Andy Lines closed out the game with a scoreless inning apiece.
Newman lasted 4.2 innings, striking out two and giving up three runs on six hits and Bare collected the loss after giving up three runs on two hits. Outfielder Nathan Orf had four hits to lead the Bears.