April 20, 2011

Hillman Blasts Walk-Off Home Run As No. 18 UCI Wins in 12 Innings

April 19, 2011

Box Score

IRVINE, Calif. --- Drew Hillman belted his fourth home-run of the season in the bottom of the 12th inning to lift No. 18 UC Irvine to an 8-7 win over San Diego Tuesday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. Hillman's home run helped the Anteaters maintain a spotless home record at 15-0 as the team improves to 24-9 on the season.

San Diego (10-24) took the 7-6 lead in the top of the 12th on Zach Sullivan's two-out double off Brian Hernandez, scoring designated hitter Corey LeVier.

However, with reliever Paul Paez on the mound for the Toreros and two outs in the bottom of the 12th, Hernandez hit a clean single through the right side. Hernandez then gave way to pinch-runner Pierce Bily but Hillman belted a 2-1 pitch over the left-field fence to lead the Anteaters to their third extra-inning victory of the season.

Hillman, the reigning Big West Player of the Week, was 2 for 6 with three RBI. D.J. Crumlich and Christian Ramirez both batted 2 for 6 with an RBI while Sean Madigan and Ronnie Shaeffer tacked on two hits apiece. Jon Hurst figured in UCI's five-run seventh with a bases-loaded walk.

San Diego took the initial lead in the top of the fourth on an RBI grounder to short by Sullivan to score Kris Bryan.

However, UCI answered in the bottom of the frame. Hernandez doubled to lead off the inning and took third on Hillman's single. A wild pitch by reliever Max MacNabb allowed Hernandez to score the tying run.

Sullivan struck again for USD in the sixth on a two-run single and the Toreros extended the lead to 5-1 in the seventh on a run-scoring double by Zack Kometani and a hit batsman with the bases loaded.

The Anteaters rallied again, scoring five runs in the seventh. Crumlich sparked the inning with a single to right and would eventually score on a fielder's choice by Hillman. Ramirez hit the first pitch from reliever Trevor Bayless into right-centerfield for a double, scoring Hillman from first. An error on the relay allowed Ramirez to take third and Jordan Leyland and Tommy Reyes would draw consecutive walks to load the bases. Reliever Michael Wagner looked to be out of the inning after striking out Ronnie Shaeffer but the passed ball by Sullivan, allowed Ramirez to score and load the bases again. Hurst, pinch-hitting, coaxed the third walk of the inning to push across Leyland and tie the score at 5-5. Crumlich then came to the plate and slapped his second single of the frame to drive in Reyes and give the team a 6-5 edge.

USD's Dillon Checkal and Julian Duran hit back-to-back singles to lead off the eighth and advanced on the sacrifice bunt by Tony Strazarra. Muno, facing reliever Jimmy Litchfield, grounded to short, allowing Checkal to score the knot the score at 6-6.

Shaeffer delivered a defensive gem in the top of the 10th for UCI. After Checkal laced one-out triple, the Toreros called for the squeeze play. However, Shaeffer jumped on Duran's bunt in front of home plate and tagged Checkal before doubling up Duran at first to end the inning.

UCI starter Matt Whitehouse pitched 2.2 innings, striking out two and giving up two hits. The Anteaters used eight pitchers with Hernandez earning the win to improve to 3-0. Hernandez logged two innings, striking out one and giving up a run on one hit.

Paez pitched 2.2 innings, giving up two runs on four hits to fall to 3-3. Starter Nick Youpel held UCI to one hit in 2.2 innings. Sullivan led the Toreros with four RBI.