May 13, 2007
STOCKTON, Calif. --- Freshman Jeff Cusick hit his first career grand slam to highlight UC Irvine's dramatic eight-run comeback in the ninth inning and lead the Anteaters to an 11-8 win over Pacific Sunday at Klein Family Field. The Anteaters, who have won 11 series this season, improved to 34-14-1 overall and 10-5 in the Big West while Pacific dropped to 13-40 overall (1-17 Big West).
The home run was Cusick's third of the season as the pinch hitter was the eighth Anteater batter of the inning. Trailing 8-3 to open the ninth, catcher Francis Larson singled off Pacific starter Jason Haar to open the inning and was followed by third baseman Tyler Vaughn, who drew a four-pitch walk. Utility Taylor Holiday doubled down the left-field line to score Larson and chase Haar from the game. Tiger reliever Jake Wild took over but gave up RBI singles to infielders Ben Orloff and Cody Cipriano to bring the score to 8-6. Outfielder Matt Morris loaded the bases with a bunt single to set the scene for Cusick, who hit Wild's 3-2 offering over the left-field fence. The Anteaters continued the rally as Vaughn hit a two-out double down the left-field line to plate Madigan, giving UCI the 11-8 lead.
Vaughn was perfect on the day, batting 3 for 3 with two RBI while Cipriano added two RBI on 1 for 5 hitting. Designated hitter Sean Madigan went 3 for 5 while Holiday and Orloff each drove in a run on two hits apiece.
Pitcher Tom Calahan improved to 2-0, tossing 1.2 scoreless innings in relief and NCAA all-time save leader Blair Erickson used eight pitches in a perfect ninth to earn his 53rd career save and 13th of the season.
The Anteaters scored first with a run in the first and had to battle back after Pacific scored six runs in four innings to take a 6-1 lead.
UCI was held scoreless until scoring twice in the sixth on an RBI hit from Vaughn and Tiger error.
Pacific widened the margin to 8-3 in the bottom of the seventh as Justin Baum hit a two-run home run off reliever Dylan Axelrod, who allowed four runs on five hits in 2.1 innings.
UCI starter Eric Pettis pitched four innings, giving up four runs (three earned) on six hits in the no-decision.
Wild took the loss, falling to 1-9 after giving up the go-ahead runs in the ninth. The Tigers were paced offensively by Baum and Mike Walker, who had three RBI apiece.
The Anteaters travel to Pepperdine Tuesday (Mar. 15) for a non-conference game. First pitch is slated for 3:00 p.m.