April 26, 2010

No. 29 UC Irvine Travels to UCLA, Hosts Cal State Bakersfield

April 26, 2010

ANTEATERS TRAVEL TO UCLA, HOST CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: UC Irvine, 24-13 overall and 8-4 in the Big West, faces off against fifth-ranked UCLA this Tuesday (Apr. 27) at Jackie Robinson Stadium before returning to Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark for a three-game series against Cal State Bakersfield (Apr. 30 - May 2). First pitch against the Bruins and the series opener against the Roadrunners is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. The remaining two games against CSUB are slated for 1:00 p.m.

BERGMAN GARNERS NATIONAL PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Senior Christian Bergman (Altadena/St. Francis HS) was named the “Louisville Slugger” National Player of the Week by Collegiate Baseball after a dominant performance Saturday against UC Davis.

The right-hander faced the minimum 27 batters in a one-hit, complete-game shutout to lead UC Irvine to a series win over the Aggies. Bergman gave up a leadoff hit in the bottom of the first and following a run-down on the stolen base attempt, proceeded to retire the next 26 batters he faced en route to the win.

Bergman used just 89 pitches in the effort and after inducing a fly-ball out to right to lead off the Aggie sixth, would not allow another ball out of the infield, getting eight groundball outs, two infield line-drive outs and striking out two. Bergman struck out six on the day to improve to 4-2 on the season. He has fanned 44 batters in 60.1 innings while walking just 10.

STEVENSON TOPS ANTEATERS IN WEEK’S ACTION: Casey Stevenson (Saugus/College of the Canyons) led UC Irvine with eight hits, five for extra bases and seven runs scored in four games last week. Stevenson drove in five runs while belting four doubles and triple, falling a home run shy of the cycle in the series opener against UC Davis.

After registering a hit in UCI’s win over San Diego State, Stevenson opened the series against UC Davis with a triple and plated the team’s first run. Stevenson then drove in what would be the eventual game-winning run in the third before capping the day with a two run double in the eight.

Saturday, Stevenson doubled twice, batting for 4 for 5 with four runs scored to help UCI clinch the conference series. After scoring a run in the third, the senior second baseman doubled in a run in the fifth and belted an RBI double in the sixth before working a walk and scoring in the eighth. In the series finale, Stevenson logged his fourth double of the weekend in the top of the first.

Stevenson raised his averaged to .315 and tops the team with 41 runs scored. He is third with 45 hits, doubles with nine and 27 runs batted in.

MADIGAN MAKES IT A .500 WEEK: Sean Madigan (Yorba Linda/Servite HS) hit .500 in four games, going 6 for 12 with two doubles, six runs and four RBI.

Against San Diego State, the junior outfielder came off the bench as a defensive replacement and promptly doubled in a run in the UCI eighth.

Madigan keyed the Anteater offense again Friday, batting 3 for 5 with two runs scored. His eight-inning, two-run single broke open a 3-1 game as UCI captured an eventual 8-1 decision.

Saturday, Madigan went 2 for 3 with two hits and two runs scored before giving way to the Anteater bench. He doubled in a run in the team’s 13-0 win. He is hitting .324 with 33 hits and 10 RBI. He has seven doubles and a home run and is 1-2 in steals.

CUSICK, CRUMLICH HIT .429: Jeff Cusick (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) and D.J. Crumlich (Irvine/HS) also lifted the Anteaters posting .429 averages last week.

Cusick, whose 25-game hit streak ended with an 0-5 performance against UC Davis Friday, quickly picked up where he left off, as the senior hit 4 for 6 with six RBI in the ensuing two games.

Tuesday against the Aztecs, Cusick reached base in four of five plate appearances and finished the day 2 for 3 with two runs scored. He would cross the plate as the eventual game-wining run in the fifth.

Saturday, Cusick doubled twice in his first two at-bats and then was intentionally walked and scored in the fifth. He added a sacrifice fly to end the day 2 for 2 with two RBI.

In the series finale Cusick blasted his team-high sixth home run of the season and went 2 for 4 with four RBI. He leads the starters with a .396 average and boasts a team-high 55 hits, 14 doubles, six home runs and 41 RBI. He has also drawn 19 base on balls and has struck out just seven times in 139 at bats.

HERNANDEZ KEEPS HITTING: Brian Hernandez (Sylmar/College of the Canyons) continues to come up clutch for the Anteaters, driving in a team-high eight RBI in four games.

Hernandez opened the week with a hit against San Diego State, going 1 for 4 with two runs scored and then put the team on the board with an RBI grounder in the series opener against UC Davis. The third baseman went 3 for 5 with three RBI in the win.

Hernandez then broke the scoreless tie again Saturday with a two-run double in the third and then added a run-scoring triple en route to his second straight three-RBI game.

Sunday the redshirt junior posted a pair of RBI on one hit and was walked twice. Hernandez is hitting .333 and is second with 47 hits, 11 doubles and 31 RBI.

BROCK SLATED TO TAKE ON BRUINS: Right-hander Evan Brock (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) will be handed the ball Tuesday against UCLA. Brock put together another stellar outing on the mound last week, pitching four relief innings of one-hit, one-run baseball against San Diego State to collect the win. The freshman stuck out five and walked two in the outing to improve to 3-2. He has struck out 23 batters in 22.2 innings and allowed just seven runs for a 2.28 ERA.

DOUBLE-DOUBLES: The UCI offense blasted 17 doubles in four games last week, including a single-game high of nine against UC Davis Saturday.

Leading the way was Stevenson, who tagged the opposition for four doubles while Madigan, Cusick, Ronnie Shaeffer (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) and Ryan Fisher (Manteca/East Union HS) added two doubles apiece. Five different Anteaters had one double last week.

BIBONA WINS SEVENTH GAME: All-American Daniel Bibona (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita HS) earned his seventh win of the season after holding UC Davis to one run on three hits last Friday. The southpaw struck out eight and lowered his ERA to 2.28. Due to open the series against Cal State Bakersfield this weekend, Bibona has struck out 84 batters in 75 innings and allowed 19 earned runs. He is holding the opposition to a .198 average on the season.

PETTIS PITCHES EIGHT IN WIN: All-American Eric Pettis (West Hills/El Camino Real HS) hurled eight solid innings Sunday to help UCI capture a series sweep against the Aggies. The right-hander struck out five and walked two while yielding three earned runs on eight hits to improve to 6-2.

Pettis, scheduled to close out the series Sunday against the Roadrunners, holds a 3.38 ERA and has struck out 46 in 74.2 innings. He has allowed 16 walks and given up 28 earned runs.

NECKE GETS BIG WEST-LEADING SIXTH SAVE: Senior Kyle Necke (Walnut/HS) notched his conference-leading sixth save last week, preserving a two-run lead against the Aztecs. Entering the game with a runner on third and two outs in the Aztec eighth, Necke induced a line-drive out to center and then retired three of the next four batters he faced.

Necke is 1-3 with a 3.69 ERA and has punched out 36 in 31.2 innings of work. He tops the team with 16 appearances, including two starts and has issued three walks.

BIBONA, CUSICK NEARING RECORD MARKS: Daniel Bibona, second in career strikeouts at UCI, struck out eight UC Davis batters to total 314 and is 14 strikeouts away from surpassing former Anteater Scott Gorgen (2006-08) in the UCI record books. Bibona totaled a career-high 14 in the win against Fresno State last season and has been averaging 10.1 strikeouts per game this season.

Also making a move up the career records is Jeff Cusick. Cusick, who has 45 doubles, is five away from becoming the Anteater record holder. Holding the mark is former standout Jeff Malinoff, who totaled 49 from 1971-74.

ABOUT UCLA: UCLA is ranked fifth in the nation and boasts a 29-7 record. The Bruins are 17-5 at Jackie Robinson Stadium and went 2-2 last week, falling to Long Beach State before defeating Arizona twice in Pac-10 play.

The team is led by Dean Espy, who is hitting .371 with 33 RBI. Tyler Rahmatulla tops the team in hits with 48 while chipping in 31 RBI and Blair Dunlap is the Bruins’ doubles leader with 16.

CLAYPOOL TO TAKE THE HILL: Right-hander Garrett Claypool is slated to take the mound for the Bruins Tuesday. The senior is 5-1 with a 2.27 ERA and is holding opponents to a .173 average. He has made 13 appearances with seven starts and registered 53 strikeouts in 47.2 innings. Claypool has walked 11 and allowed 12 earned runs on the year.

THE SERIES: UCLA owns a 41-24-1 series lead over the Anteaters. The two teams have split their home-and-home series every year since 2006 when the Bruins won three times, twice in the regular season and once at the Pepperdine Regional.

ABOUT CAL STATE BAKERSFIELD: Cal State Bakersfield is 17-20 on the season and is led by Jeremy Rodriguez, who is batting .405 with 49 hits and 14 RBI. Brandon Boren tops the team in hits with 61 while Martin Medina is the team’s RBI leader with 40.

WEEKLY WRAPUP: The Anteaters put together a 4-0 week, defeating San Diego State and then sweeping UC Davis in Big West play over the weekend.

Against the Aztecs, the ‘Eaters jumped out to the early lead, getting five runs in the first five innings with the scoring highlighted by a pair of RBI doubles from Ronnie Schaeffer. Starter Matt Summers (Scottsdale, AZ/Chaparral HS) started the game, pitching a scoreless first but then handed the ball off to Evan Brock who blanked SDSU for 3.1 innings before yielding a solo home run, the second he has allowed this season. Brock put runners on via a base on balls in the second and third but Shaeffer connected with Casey Stevenson twice to nab the Aztec runners. Sean Madigan broke open a 5-4 game in the eighth with a key double and Kyle Necke earned the save, entering the game with a two run lead as the Anteaters recorded an eventual 9-4 decision. Shaeffer led the team with three RBI while going 2 for 4 at the plate.

In the series opener against UC Davis, the ‘Eaters quickly tacked on three runs and Daniel Bibona hurled eight innings, limiting the Aggies to a run on three hits. Bibona faced the minimum through 6.1 innings before allowing a run to score in the seventh. Bibona climbed to 7-2 after the team’s 8-1 victory while the top third of the lineup caused all the offensive damage, with Madigan, Stevenson and Hernandez combining for eight RBI. Jeff Cusick saw his 25-game hit streak end after going 0 for 5 at the plate.

Saturday, Christian Bergman dominated the game, facing the minimum 27 batters in a one-hit complete-game shutout to clinch the series. The right-hander yielded a first-inning hit to the Aggies, who would be caught stealing, and then retired the next 26 batters, striking out six to improve to 4-2. The offense provided plenty of support in the 13-0 win with Hernandez leading the team with three RBI. Stevenson, Cusick and Shaeffer each added two runs batted in apiece.

In the series finale, the combination of strong pitching and timely offense again emerged as the ‘Eaters sealed the series sweep with a 10-4 win. Eric Pettis lasted eight innings, holding UC Davis to three runs on eight hits while striking out five. The Anteaters struck early, scoring the majority of its run in the first four innings. Cusick led the team with four RBI on two hits, including hitting his team-leading sixth home run. Hernandez and Shaeffer combined for four RBI in the win and Kyle Necke pitched one inning, giving up a run on three hits.