April 9, 2010
IRVINE, Calif. --- Jeff Cusick delivered a three-run walk-off home run to lead UC Irvine to a 7-4 win against Cal State Fullerton Friday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. The Anteaters improve to 18-9 overall and 4-0 in Big West play while the Titans fall to 16-12 (3-1 Big West) overall.
Deadlocked in a 4-4 tie in the bottom of the ninth, Sean Madigan sparked the Anteater rally by legging out an infield single. Casey Stevenson, who was 3 for 5 on the day, followed with a slap to right to put two runners on for the Anteaters. Following a strikeout by Brian Hernandez, Cusick drove a 1-0 offering from reliever Nick Ramirez to left for his team-high fifth home run of the season.
Cusick finished the day 2 for 4 with four RBI while Hernandez drove in two runs on 2 for 4 hitting, including a solo home run in the sixth. Madigan went 2 for 4 with an RBI and two runs scored while D.J. Crumlich also added a pair of hits.
The Anteaters eked out a run in the first, taking advantage of a hit batsman to lead off the inning. After Madigan was hit by the pitch, Stevenson singled to right. Hernandez executed on the sacrifice to third to advance the runners and Cusick's bouncer deflected off the glove of starter Noe Ramirez, allowing Madigan to plate the first run on the 1-4-3 groundout.
Cal State Fullerton quickly tied the game in the second as first baseman Nick Ramirez hit a solo shot off Bibona for his fourth home run of the season.
UCI jumped ahead in the fifth on Madigan's blooper to right, driving in Ryan Fisher from second. Hernandez then staked the Anteaters to a 3-1 lead with his round-tripper to left in the Anteater sixth.
The Titans bounced back in the seventh. Carlos Lopez, who led the team at the plate batting 2 for 3, doubled to lead off the inning and then scored as Tyler Pill singled up the first-base line. Pill then scored from first as catcher Francis Larson's throw to first on a sacrifice attempt went wide. With two outs and Jones on third, Bibona was called for the balk bringing in the go-ahead run at 4-3.
However, Hernandez belted a double to left in the seventh to score D.J. Crumlich, who bounced one over the head of third baseman Joey Siddons to lead off the frame. Crumlich was then pushed to second on Stevenson’s single to center before plating the tying run.
Anteater starter Daniel Bibona hurled a complete game, striking out eight and limiting the Titans to four hits. The lefty yielded four runs, two earned, and walked two, improving to 5-2 on the season.
Noe Ramirez pitched 6.1 innings, striking out six and giving up four runs on nine hits but did not figure in the decision. Nick Ramirez fell to 0-3 after yielding three runs on three hits in two innings of work.
The two teams continue the series Saturday at 1:00 p.m.