Shaeffer Comes Up Clutch, Morales Holds Off Cal For Second Win
IRVINE, Calif. --- Catcher Ronnie Shaeffer snapped a 3-3 tie with a run-scoring single in the bottom of the seventh as No. 21 UC Irvine defeated California, 5-3 Friday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
With Cal threatening in the top of the seventh after an RBI triple from Jacob Wark that tied the game, the Anteaters turned to Andrew Morales with two outs and the go-ahead run at third. Derek Campbell, who had an RBI single earlier in the game, worked the count full against Morales but the junior right-hander struck out Campbell to leave Wark stranded the score knotted at 3-3.
UCI's offense struck in the seventh. Dominique Taylor laced a one-out hit to left-center and was followed by Taylor Sparks (3 for 5), who delivered a hit-and-run single to put runners on first and third. Shaeffer (3 for 5) jumped on a 1-0 pitch to right off Trevor Hildenberger to score Taylor and Connor Spencer gave UCI an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to center that easily scored Sparks.
That would be all for California as Morales struck out two in a scoreless eighth to improve to 2-0 and closer Race Parmenter posted his second save after striking out one in a shutout ninth.
The Golden Bears jumped on the scoreboard in the first on the RBI hit from Campbell in the third but UCI answered in the bottom of the inning. Chris Rabago led off the inning with a triple to the right-centerfield wall and crossed the plate on a grounder to short off the bat of Jeff Stephens.
UCI then loaded the bases in the fourth for Mikey Duarte, who squeezed home Shaeffer for the go-ahead run. A fielding error by pitcher Justin Jones allowed Connor Spencer to score as the Anteaters took a 3-1 advantage.
Cal scored a single run in the fifth on a sacrifice fly from Mitchell Kranson.
Starter Andrew Thurman gave UCI a solid start. The right-hander hurled six innings and struck out nine to highlight a season-high 13 strikeouts by the Anteater pitching staff. Thurman walked one and yielded three runs on five hits in the no-decision.
Elliot Surrey picked up for Thurman with pitched 2/3 innings in relief.
Jones pitched four innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits while striking out four in the no-decision. Trevor Hildenberger suffered the loss (1-1) after giving up two runs on four hits in an inning of work.
The series continues Saturday with a double-header scheduled for 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.