May 4, 2011
IRVINE, Calif. --- Sean Madigan drove in three runs to highlight a four-run eighth as No. 17 UC Irvine erased a 4-1 deficit to defeat Pepperdine 5-4 Wednesday at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark. With the win, UCI improved to 29-12 overall while the Waves dropped to 18-21.
The Anteaters gave up early runs to Pepperdine with Nate Johnson hitting a triple in the second to score Joe Sever from first. David DiPaola came up with a sacrifice fly to left to stake the Waves to a 2-0 lead.
However, Pepperdine struck again in the sixth. An error, a walk and a single loaded the bases with one out for Sever, who drove a pitch up the middle that hit reliever Nick Hoover in the foot and caromed towards first. Hoover covered first but Sever beat the throw for the RBI hit. Johnson then worked a base on balls, forcing across a run to extend the Pepperdine lead to 4-1.
The Anteaters finally broke through in the eighth. With two outs, Ronnie Shaeffer sparked the rally with a sharp single to right and Scott Gottschling dropped a 2-1 pitch to center to extend the inning. Tommy Reyes followed with a single up the middle to score Shaeffer and chase reliever Brian McIlhenny from the game. D.J. Crumlich worked a crucial base on balls off reliever Eric Karch, setting the scene for Madigan, who worked the count to 2-2 before hitting a sinking line-drive to right-centerfield and clearing the bases.
Madigan was 2 for 3 with three RBI while Ramirez and Reyes each drove in a run. Jimmy Litchfield was the pitcher of record and improved to 2-0 after setting down two batters in the Pepperdine eighth. Starter Kyle Hooper pitched two innings and struck out two while giving up two runs on two hits. Crosby Slaught fanned three and faced the minimum for three hitless innings. Andy Lines and Drew Sandler combined for two shutout innings and Brian Hernandez earned his ninth save of the season after retiring the side in order in the ninth on eight pitches.
Pepperdine was led by Sam Meyer, who had two hits while Johnson led the team with two RBI. Starter Alex Najera logged 6.2 innings and held the Anteaters to a run on two hits while striking out seven but did not figure in the decision. Karch fell to 4-4 after giving up the game-winning run.