May 9, 2010
SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. --- Jeff Cusick and Francis Larson combined for 14 RBI to lead UC Irvine to an 18-13 win over Cal Poly to clinch the series Sunday at Baggett Stadium. The win lifted UCI to 29-16 and kept the Anteaters in second in the Big West at 10-5 while Cal Poly dropped to 14-29 (6-12 Big West) overall.
Cusick was 4 for 6 with a career-high seven RBI and four runs scored while Larson also drove in a career-high seven on 4 for 6 hitting. Larson, who was a double shy of hitting for the cycle, belted two home runs to become UC Irvine's all-time leader in home runs with 22, passing former Anteater Cody Cipriano (2004-07) and Jaime Martinez (2002-06), who held the record with 21 round-trippers.
D.J. Crumlich also recorded a multiple-RBI game, driving in two runs on one hit while Sean Madigan and Brian Hernandez each had two hits apiece in UCI's 16-hit attack. UCI's 18 runs are the second-highest this season with the Anteaters registering 19 runs in a win against Loyola Marymount earlier this season.
UCI jumped on Cal Poly starter Eugene Wright in the first, putting runners on first and second for Cusick, who belted a run-scoring double to left to put the Anteaters on the board. Wright walked Casey Stevenson and Larson capitalized by hitting a three-run home run to left, his fourth of the season to cap a five-run first.
Cal Poly answered quickly as Bobby Crocker singled in Adam Melker and was plated on a two-out double by Mitch Haniger. Ross Brayton then hit a seeing-eye single through the left side to cut the lead to two at 5-3.
The Anteaters took advantage of a hit batter in the top of the second. A single by Hernandez on the ensuing play, put runners on first and second with one out for Cusick, who launched a 1-0 pitch from Wright over the centerfield wall as UCI reclaimed a five-run lead at 8-3.
Luke Yoder sent a line-drive over the left-field wall for a solo home run to start the bottom of the fourth but the Anteaters countered in the fifth, scoring a run on a sacrifice fly by Crumlich.
The scoring continued for UCI in the sixth as Cusick registered his fifth RBI of the game with a double to center. Larson then followed with hard hit to left field. Luke Yoder looked to have the ball in his glove but hit the wall and was unable to hang on as Cusick crossed the plate on what would be a triple by Larson.
Cal Poly shaved the lead to four at 11-7 in the bottom of the frame with three runs but UCI responded with a seven-run seventh. Crumlich hit a solo home run to start the inning and UCI received an RBI single by Madigan, a two-run single from Cusick and a three-run home run by Larson, the record-setting 22nd career round-tripper for the senior catcher.
However, the Mustangs were not finished. Melker laced a two-run double in the bottom of the seventh and Cal Poly then rallied for six runs in the bottom of the ninth as Cal Poly batted around. Haniger's two-out, two-run single would cap the scoring before Matt Summers would strike out pinch-hitter Jono Grayson to end the game.
Starter Eric Pettis recorded the win, improving to 7-2 after giving up seven runs on 16 hits and tying a career-high with seven strikeouts in 5.2 innings. Kyle Necke pitched 2.1 innings of one-run, three-hit baseball before handing the ball to Summers who allowed five runs on four hits in an inning of work.
Cal Poly starter Eugene Wright fell to 1-4 after giving up nine runs on four hits in four innings while reliever Jeff Johnson gave up eight runs on 10 hits in two innings of work. Haniger led the offense with three RBI while Melker posted four hits in the losing effort.