IRVINE, Calif. --- Trailing 3-2 in the bottom of the ninth and down to the last strike, Connor Spencer jumped on a 1-2 pitch and doubled to right-centerfield fence to lift UC Irvine to a 4-3 win over UC Davis Sunday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
UCI trailed the entire way, falling behind 3-0 after the Aggies tacked on single runs in the fourth, fifth and sixth innings against starter Andrew Morales, who had taken a 22.2 scoreless inning streak into the game.
However, UCI finally got on the board in the seventh against starter Evan Wolf. Wolf walked Jerry McClanahan to lead off the inning and was lifted for Spencer Henderson, who issued a base on balls to Scott Gottschling. Both runners advanced on the sacrifice by Grant Palmer. Jeff Stephens drove in UCI's first run with a grounder to short and Chris Rabago followed with a double that dropped inside the right-field line to plate Gottschling and cut the lead to one at 3-2.
Unable to capitalize on a first-and-third, one-out opportunity in the eighth, UCI fell behind in the ninth as reliever Craig Lanza retired Gottschling and Palmer on three pitches for the first two outs.
Ryan Cooper came off the bench and hit a slow roller past Lanza. Third baseman Paul Politi charged the ball but his throw to first went wide, allowing Cooper to take second on the infield single and error. Lanza then walked Rabago and Dominique Taylor hit a chopper behind the second base bag. Shortstop Adam Young fielded the ball and tried to get the force but Rabago just beat Young to the bag, loading the bases for Spencer.
Morales extended his shutout streak to 26 1/3 innings before John Williams hit a two-out single to right to drive in Nick Lynch in the Aggie fourth. Politi posted the run-scoring hit in the fifth and Austin March doubled in a run with two outs in the sixth.
Morales worked a perfect seventh before handing the ball off to Jimmy Litchfield in the eighth. Morales fanned four and walked just one while scattering seven hits in the no-decision. Litchfield induced three fly-ball outs in the eighth and Race Parmenter retired three straight in the top of the ninth to earn the win and improve to 2-2.
Shaeffer paced the offense with three hits while Spencer drove in two runs on one hit. Rabago added an RBI on one hit and was walked three times.
Wolf pitched six innings, striking out six and holding UCI to a run on two hits in the no-decision. Lanza fell to 0-2 after giving up two runs on four hits in two innings of work.