May 31, 2008

UC Irvine Tops Nebraska 3-2 at Lincoln Regional

May 31, 2008

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LINCOLN, Neb. --- Daniel Bibona pitched a career-high eight innings and Eric Pettis earned his 17th save of the season to tie the UC Irvine record as the Anteaters defeated host and top-seeded Nebraska, 3-2, in the Lincoln Regional Saturday before 8,646 at Hawks Field at Haymarket Park.

Bibona, a sophomore left-hander, struck out seven and walked two in improving to 9-3 on the season. Pettis, a sophomore right-hander, pitched a perfect ninth to earn his second save in as many nights at the regional as he tied the UCI single-season record of 17 saves set by Blair Erickson in 2004.

With the victory, UCI (40-16) will face the winner of the Nebraska/Oral Roberts elimination game Sunday at 4:05 p.m. (PDT). The game will be carried live on KUCI/88.9 FM.

Junior center fielder Ollie Linton's fourth home run of the season in the bottom of the fifth inning proved to be the difference in giving UCI the 3-2 lead.

The `Eaters opened the scoring with a run in the second as Eric Deragisch doubled home Casey Stevenson.

Nebraska (41-15-1) took a 2-1 lead in the top of the third as Jake Opitz hit a two-run home run.

UCI knotted the score in the bottom frame as Jeff Cusick's single drove in Ben Orloff, who had doubled.

Bibona and Pettis combined to shut down the final 12 Nebraska batters over the last four innings.

The Anteaters have reached 40 wins for the second consecutive season and just the second time since the university moved to NCAA Division I status July 1, 1977.