May 21, 2011

No. 16 UC Irvine Edges Past UC Riverside to Win Series

May 21, 2011

Box Score

RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- D.J. Crumlich doubled in the eventual game-winning run in the eighth as No. 16 UC Irvine defeated UC Riverside, 3-2 Saturday at the Riverside Sports Complex. The win lifts UCI to 37-13 overall and 15-5 in the Big West while the Highlanders fall to 26-22 (8-12) on the season.

Crumlich had two hits while Christian Ramirez was 2 for 3 with two RBI. Drew Hillman also posted a two-hit game while scoring twice. Crosby Slaught improved to 7-1 after pitching seven strong innings with six strikeouts and a walk. The right-hander held the Highlanders to two runs on six hits. Freshman Jimmy Litchfield hurled 1.2 innings of one-hit baseball, making his 29th appearance of the year and moving into the No. 8 spot in the UCI single-season records. Brian Hernandez earned his 11th save of the season after striking one and yielding a single and he is now sixth in the UCI records in saves.

With the score knotted a two runs apiece in the top of the eighth, Tommy Reyes knocked the first pitch from starter Eddie Orozco up the middle for a leadoff single. Crumlich hit a booming double to the right-field gap that rolled to the wall to drive in Reyes for the go-ahead run. With that hit, Crumlich takes over the team lead with his 14th double of the year.

Hillman broke the scoreless tie in the second inning, leading off the frame with a double down the right-field line and then scoring on a one-out double to right by Ramirez to give UCI a 1-0 lead.

The Highlanders took a 2-1 lead in the third as Trevor Hairgrove hit a 3-2 pitch from Slaught over the left-field fence for his second home run of the season.

However, the Anteaters quickly struck back, tying the game in the top of the fourth on a sacrifice fly from Ramirez to score Hillman, who had singled and taken third on a hit from Jordan Fox.

UC Riverside mounted a rally in the bottom of the fifth putting runners on second and third with one out. However, Hernandez used the hidden ball trick to tag out Bart Steponovich at third and Ronnie Shaeffer connected with Hernandez to catch Phil Holinsworth trying to steal third as the Anteaters escaped the inning unscathed.

Anteater defense stifled another Highlander rally in the eighth. With Steponovich on first with two outs, Hairgrove hit a sinking line-drive to center that would have put runners on first and third, but Ramirez made a diving catch to secure the final out and end the threat.

Orozco fell to 4-2 despite hurling a complete-game, striking out 11 and walking just one while giving up three runs on nine hits. Hairgrove led the team with two RBI on two hits.

The series concludes Sunday at 1:00 p.m.