OMAHA-BOUND!WICHITA, KS --- Junior Bryan Petersen doubled in Matt Morris for the game-winning run as No. 4 UC Irvine stunned eighth-ranked Wichita State with a 3-2 victory Sunday at Eck Stadium to advance to the Division I College World Series for the first time in program history.
A controversial call was part of the Wichita State ninth as the Shockers tied the game at 2-2. However, the Anteaters struck back in the bottom of the frame as Morris led off with a one-out single off reliever Anthony Capra and then advanced to second on a wild pitch to set the stage for Petersen, who drove Capra's full-count offering to right-center to score Morris for the game-winner.
The Anteaters (45-15-1) rode the arm of starter Wes Etheridge, who pitched flawless baseball through eight innings, striking out four and walking none. Etheridge did not earn the decision after handing the ball off with one out in the Wichita State ninth. After giving up a leadoff single to Andy Dirks in first, Etheridge retired the next 17 batters before Dirks would record his second hit of the game in the sixth.
The Shockers threatened in the eighth inning as Tyler Hill's one-out hit up the middle was followed by a pinch-hit single from Ryan Jones to put runners on first and third. Dirks then drove a pitch to right-center field but Morris made a spectacular diving catch to end the inning.
WSU rallied again in the ninth as first baseman Derek Schermerhorn singled off Etheridge to start the frame and was followed by Damon Sublett, who hit a grounder to short but was called safe as first baseman Taylor Holiday was ruled to have been pulled off the bag by the throw. The runners advanced a base on a groundout to Etheridge, who then gave way to lefty Tom Calahan. Matt Brown lined out to third baseman Tyler Vaughn for the second out but pinch-hitter Danny Jackson drew a walk off UCI's third pitcher, reliever Dylan Axelrod. Hill came up with a single through the right side to knot the score at 2-2.
Morris led the team, going 2 for 3 with two runs scored and an RBI while designated hitter Jeff Cusick also drove in a run for the Anteaters.
The Anteaters capitalized on a Wichita State error in the top of the first to get on the board. Taylor Holiday doubled to lead off the inning to become UC Irvine's all-time single-season leader in doubles with 24 while extending his hitting streak to 22 games.
UCI took a 2-0 lead in the fourth as Morris led off the inning with a double down the left-field line and would score on Cusick's one-out single to right field.
Axelrod was credited with the win to improve to 5-4 while Capra was handed his first loss of the season (7-1) after giving up a run on two hits.