April 1, 2010
NORTHRIDGE, Calif. --- Senior Casey Stevenson drove in a career-high five RBI and went 4 for 7 to lead No. 24 UC Irvine to a 16-2 win over Cal State Northridge in the teams' Big West opener Thursday at Matador Field. With the win, the Anteaters climb to 16-8 overall (1-0) while CSUN falls to 15-8.
Stevenson, hitting leadoff for the second time this season, hit his second home run of the season to start off the third and then hit a clutch run-scoring single in the fourth. He singled again in the eighth and then hit a bases-clearing triple in the ninth. Brian Hernandez drove in three runs and tied a personal-high with three hits (3 for 4) with a run scored while Jeff Cusick went 2 for 6 with two RBI and two runs scored. Jonathan Hurst and Francis Larson each drove in a run on two hits and Dillon Bell and D.J. Crumlich also posted an RBI.
Starter Daniel Bibona held CSUN hitless through five and went on to pitch eight innings, striking out a season-high 12 batters and yielding two runs on four hits to improve to 4-2. Matt Summers pitched a perfect ninth to end the game.
The Anteaters put up three runs in the third, taking a 1-0 lead on Stevenson home run. Cusick posted his team-leading fourth home run, a two-run blast to left to widen the margin to 3-0.
Ryan Fisher, who batted 2 for 4 with a run scored, sparked UCI's three-run rally in the fourth, leading off the frame with a sharp single to right. Third baseman Justin DeMarco mishandled Hurst's sacrifice bunt and threw wide for an error and Crumlich successfully executed on his sacrifice bunt attempt to put Anteaters on second and third with one out. Stevenson and Hurst followed with back-to-back RBI singles and Hernandez's sacrifice fly would give UCI a 6-0 margin.
The Matadors finally got to Bibona in the seventh. Dominic D'Anna singled off the lefty to lead off the seventh and DeMarco laced a double past a diving Brian Hernandez. D'Anna scored on a groundout by C.J. Belanger and Brad Decatur's sacrifice would score DeMarco to trim the lead to 6-2.
UCI tacked on a pair of runs in the eighth as Hernandez laced a double to right off reliever Justen Gorski for the 8-2 lead. The Anteaters then brought 14 batters to the plate in the ninth and plated eight runs in the inning.
CSUN starter Ryan Juarez fell to 1-2 after giving up eight runs on 12 hits in seven innings.
The series continues Friday at 3:00 p.m.