No. 3 UC Irvine Wins Series Opener Against UC Riverside
April 17, 2009
RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- Third-ranked UC Irvine held UC Riverside to one run and recorded the second-highest number of hits this season with 20 in a 16-1 win Friday at the Riverside Sports Complex. With the win, UCI climbed to 9-1 in the Big West (23-10 overall) while the Highlanders fell to 20-11 overall and 2-5 in conference action.
Freshman Ronnie Shaeffer led the offensive attack with a season-high five RBI while going 3 for 5 with three runs scored. Tommy Reyes added three RBI on 2 for 3 hitting. Francis Larson was 4 for 5 with two RBI and four runs scored and Dillon Bell drove in a pair of runs.
Starter Daniel Bibona pitched seven innings, striking out seven and allowing the lone run on four hits to improve to 6-1. Matt Dufour pitched a hitless inning in relief and Maverick Olivares retired the Highlanders in order to close out the game.
Both pitchers cruised through the first inning, retiring the side in order. The Anteaters would break through in the second as Larson doubled to lead off the frame and scored on an RBI groundout to short by Jeff Cusick.
The Highlanders tied the score in their half of the third on a single by Michael Hur to plate Brian McConkey.
Reyes keyed the Anteater offense in the fourth, driving an 0-2 offering from UCR starter Paul Bargas to deep center for a two-run double, giving UCI a 3-1 edge. DJ Crumlich delivered a two-out single to left to give the team a three-run lead.
The duo of Shaeffer and Larson struck in the fifth, chasing Bargas from the game as Shaeffer belted a three-run home run over the left-field fence and was followed by Larson who hit a solo home run to left-center, marking the fourth time in UCI history that the Anteaters have hit consecutive home runs. Former Anteaters Devan Shackley and Tom Blaine were the last to hit back-to-back roundtrippers in 1986 at UNLV.
UCI tacked on two runs in the seventh and five in the eighth as Tony Asaro, Shaeffer and Larson each drove in a run before Bell capped the scoring with a two-run single to right field.
Bargas fell to 4-3 after allowing nine runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings.
The series continues Saturday at 6:00 p.m.