#12 Long Beach State Dirtbags (22-13, Big West 7-2) at UC Irvine Anteaters
Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark (3,408) - Irvine, Calif.
UC Irvine Anteaters at San Diego Toreros (26-9, WCC 12-3)
Fowler Park and Cunningham Field (1,700) - San Diego, Calif.
KUCI 88.9 FM with Mark Roberts and Tim Becwar. All games also available live on the internet at kuci.org and ucirvinesports.com
Live stats are available for every Anteater baseball game through ucirvinesports.com and the UCI Sports Front Row app.
LAST WEEK RECAP
+ The Anteaters finally started to break out of their funk winning twice and putting up 39 runs in the five games
+ UCSB's offense went to work in the middle innings Thursday after the teams were tied 1-1 in the fourth. Four runs in the fifth and three in the seventh from four hits from Colton Burns and four RBI from Sam Cohen led to an 11-3 Gaucho victory.
+ UCI came back from the dead Friday after trailing 7-2 in the seventh with two runs in the final three innings capped by a PH sac fly from Devin Pettengill to even the series, 8-7.
+ The 'Eaters got a dose of their own medicine Saturday after putting up six 7th-inning runs to lead 7-2. UCSB scored three in the eighth and twice in the ninth winning on a walk-off sac fly to rip UCI's hearts out and take the series, 8-7.
+ UCI pounced early on Monday scoring six times in the first three innings, but a five-run USC fourth erased that. Anteater baserunning betrayed them late as they squandered multiple opportunities letting the Trojans off with a 9-7 win.
+ The return trip Tuesday was all Anteaters busting the doors off a tie game in the fifth thanks to a Cole Kreuter home run and six runs in the sixth off only two hits to run away with the 14-3 win.
WHO SHOWED OUT
+ Keston Hiura continues to scald the baseball as he's risen his batting average to .423 on the season thanks to a .476 average and 20 hits in 12 games this month. He's been consistent through the team's woe currently sporting a 13-game hit streak, the second of that length for him this season, and has reached in each of the last 34 games.
+ Cole Kreuter has four hits and five RBI in the last two games as he continues to find ways to drive runs home when put in the situation totaling 27 RBI and 28 hits on the season.
+ Louis Raymond worked through a minor bump up at Santa Barbara where he allowed five earned runs, but did not issue a walk for the fourth start in his last five. His 4.83 ERA is tops among eligible Anteaters in his team-leading 50.1 innings.
+ Andre Pallante has found himself right in the middle of the 'Eaters success earning each of the team's last two wins to give him a club-high four on the year. In the process, he's tied Jordan Bocko for the team lead with 32 strikeouts.
+ Ryan Johnston has gotten a look at the dish lately going 3-for-7 as a hitter in the last four games. He's steadily dipped his ERA down to 4.71 while still accumulating the strikeouts with 18 this year and a team-high 10 looking.
+ The entire offense has looked more like the squad that burnt up the score sheets early in the season. The team is hitting .314 over its last five games scoring multiple in innings 12 times returning to its place atop the conference in hitting at .281.
THERE GOES MY HIURA
+ Baseball America's most recent mock draft release slotted Keston Hiura to go 10th overall in the upcoming MLB Draft. A fellow Anteater in incoming freshman Royce Lewis was also projected in the top 10 at No. 3 overall.
+ Keston Hiura ranks among the top 30 nationally in on-base percentage (3rd), batting (4th), and slugging (12th) helped by his 17 doubles, seventh in the NCAA. He is the leader in the Big West in nine different categories including his entire slashline.
+ Hiura earned the spotlight early on being named to five Preseason All-American lists from publications such as Baseball American, the National Collegiate Baseball Writer's Association, D1Baseball.com, Collegiate Baseball News, and Perfect Game USA. He received Preseason All-American status by three publications heading into his sophomore season.
+ Hiura's most recent accolade was a return to the Golden Spikes Award Midseason Watch List as the only Big West member of list of 40 players marking the second straight year he's appeared on both the midseason and preseason lists.
+ He spent the summer with the U.S. Collegiate National Team on their global trip to play national teams in Taiwan, Japan, and Cuba. Hiura hit .289 hitting three homers and driving in six including a go-ahead HR in Cuba to give the team its first-ever series win at Cuba.
+ In 143 career games, Hiura has failed to reach base in just eight while producing 200 hits, 47 doubles, 21 HR, and 124 RBIs. He recently became the 23rd Anteater all-time to drive in 100 career RBI, the 15th Anteater all-time to record 200 hits, is tied for second in program history in HR, and second in hitting and slugging, and stands five doubles from matching the program record of 52 set by Jeff Cusick.
+ Hiura was named Big West Freshman Field Player of the Year, a first for the program, and made the All-West Region team, the third straight season an Anteater made it, following a 2015 campaign where he landed near the top of many Anteater freshman records including second in doubles (18), hits (75), and at-bats (227) while setting new marks with seven home runs and 52 RBIs.
BROOKS IS HERE
+ Another Anteater shortstop is making waves as senior Mikey Duarte has earned a spot on the Brooks Wallace Award Watch List that was announced on Friday. Duarte was a semifinalist for the award in his junior season in 2015. He's currently second on the club in hitting (.350), slugging (.480), on-base (.434), doubles (11), and walks (14), and third in hits, runs scored, and RBI. He's also the standard in the field with a .977 fielding percentage (3 errors in 130 chances) and is the toughest 'Eater to strikeout going down 13 times in 144 plate appearances.
+ Keston Hiura's arm issues have drawn the interest of many in the college and professional ranks alike. Baseball America's John Manuel wrote of it prior to the season, and Aaron Fitt touched on it early this season about Hiura's offseason dealing with a partial tear in his elbow. Hiura was completely shut down for a majority of it, and underwent platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment in January to aid in the recovery. For now, he will be limited to DH duty early in the season while the progress of his arm is monitored.
+ Adam Alcantara has missed the last five games with hamstring tightness. It first became an issue April 4 vs. Bakersfield.
+ Christian Koss has been out since Friday with shoulder discomfort from a diving play Thursday at UC Santa Barbara.
+ Cameron Bishop has yet to play in 2017 with an oblique issue.
+ The Anteaters are 10-2 in Anteater Ballpark against non-conference ranked opponents winning two of three against No. 1 TCU this year adding to the series win over No. 25 Cal in 2006 and sweeps of No. 23 Baylor in 2013 and No. 8 Washington in 2005.
+ Since Head Coach Mike Gillespie took over in 2008, UCI has played 100 games against ranked opponents, 78 coming during the regular season, and the 'Eaters have won 46 of those games.
+ Anteater Ballpark specifically has seen UCI go 23-14 against ranked squads and 3-3 against No. 1 teams.
+ Since 2002, UC Irvine is 31-36 overall against ranked Big West schools winning 17 times at home and at least once in all 10 home series. UCI is 8-9 since 2002 against LBSU when they're ranked. This is the first time LBSU has come to UCI ranked since 2007.
MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY
+ UC Irvine baseball will host a Military Appreciation Day on Sunday, April 23 vs. Long Beach State to honor our nation's military personnel and service members within the greater UC Irvine community.
+ UC Irvine Athletics will be partnering with the Wounded Warrior Project and the UCI Veterans Services Center and other community partners to host more than 100 service members and their families. During the course of the game several members of each organization will be highlighted.
+ UC Irvine Athletics and Adidas Baseball collaborated to specially design a unique alternate camouflage uniform that the Anteaters will don for the first time this season. The first 100 kids 13 years of age and under in attendance will receive a free camouflage 'Eaters Adidas shirt.
+ Active duty or former military personnel will be eligible to receive $5 general admission grass-seating tickets to the game by showing their official ID at the Anteater Ballpark box office on gameday (maximum of eight tickets per ID).
LONG BEACH STATE DIRTBAGS
Long Beach State is flying high ranked 12th in the nation and winning 12 of 16 after an eight-game win streak was snapped Saturday vs. CSUN. LBSU weathered a rocky opening to the season losing series to Oklahoma and Arizona State, but a big series win at No. 7 North Carolina, a midweek defeat of No. 3 TCU, and a non-conference sweep of No. 8 Cal State Fullerton has the Dirtbags rolling with a 22-12 mark and 7-2 in the Big West.
The pitching has driven LBSU who allows the sixth-least amount of walks and 28th-least amount of hits in the nation. Along with an ERA of 3.09 and a fielding percentage in the nation's top 40, LBSU is about as stingy as they come. Darren McCaughan leads the charge from the staff allowing under eight combined walks and hits over nine innings to get him to a 4-2 record and 2.88 ERA. John Sheaks is close being with a 2.90 ERA and five wins. The bullpen has a steady flow between Josh Advocate, Eli Villalobos, Connor Riley, and Chris Rivera who all have 10+ appearances and ERAs under 3.00 putting up a combined record of 7-1.
Offensively, Lucas Tancas leads the way with a .333 average and 5 HRs. He has a lot of help with 24 RBI from Ramsey Romano and Luke Rasmussen, David Banuelos and Brock Lundquist topping the team in extra-base hits, and Jarren Duran swiping 11 bases and scoring 26 runs to lead the Dirtbags. As a whole, they score over five runs a game which is helped a lot by its speed which tops the conference in SBs and triples.
LBSU took two of three at home last season vs. UCI ranked 18th including a 12-inning win. This is the first time since 2007 LBSU has visited UCI ranked, and the Dirtbags as a ranked team at UCI are just 2-6. LBSU's lone fault in 2017 has been the road where 11 of its 13 losses have come from.
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