Hooper Shuts Down Aztecs, Palmer Picks Up Offense
IRVINE, Calif. --- Kyle Hooper shut down San Diego State, setting down 12 straight batters in relief to lead No. 25 UC Irvine (13-4) to a 4-2 win over the Aztecs (7-10) Tuesday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Hooper held the Aztecs hitless and struck out four to earn his first win of the year. Evan Brock pitched a solid five innings in the start and held San Diego State to two runs (one earned) on seven hits. The right-hander struck out four and did not walk a batter in the no-decision.
San Diego State took a 1-0 lead in the fourth on an RBI fielder's choice by Tyler France. The Anteaters threatened by loading the bases with two outs in the bottom of the frame but starter Mike Robarbs escape the jam by striking out Scott Gottschling.
SDSU opened the fifth on a pair of singles to center. A double steal was followed by a passed ball as the visiting Aztecs took a 2-0 lead.
Grant Palmer, making his fifth start for UCI, tripled down the right-field line to spark the Anteaters in the sixth. Fellow freshman Mikey Duarte beat the throw on a squeeze play, cutting SDSU's lead to one. Connor Spencer continued his hot hitting with a double to right-centerfield and Ronnie Shaeffer tied the game with a sacrifice fly.
Palmer again provided the offensive punch, this time in the sixth inning as the designated hitter dunked a two-out hit to right field, driving in Gottschling, who had doubled and taken third on a wild pitch by Tyler Sapp. Gottschling tacked on an insurance in the bottom of the eighth to cap the scoring.
Palmer was 2 for 2 with an RBI while Gottschling and Shaeffer drove in a run on two hits.
Robards pitched five innings, struck out two and gave up two runs on six hits but did not factor in the decision. Sapp took the loss (0-1) after giving up the go-ahead run on two hits.
UCI takes on Nebraska in a three-game series beginning Friday at 6:30 p.m.