No. 25 UC Irvine Hosts USC, Travels to Cal Poly

May 3, 2010

ANTEATERS HOST USC, TRAVEL TO CAL POLY: UC Irvine (27-14 overall, 8-4 Big West) hosts USC Tuesday (May 4) at 6:00 p.m. in the first game of a home-and-home series with the Trojans and then continues Big West play at Cal Poly this weekend (May 7-9). The first two games at Baggett Stadium are evening affairs, scheduled to begin at 6:00 p.m. Sunday's game is slated for a 2:00 p.m. start.

`EATERS ON ESPNU: The Sunday match-up featuring starters Eric Pettis (West Hills/El Camino Real HS) and Eugene Wright (Cal Poly) will be aired live on ESPNU. Check your local listings for more information.

FAMILY AFFAIR: Tuesday's game will pit Anteater skipper Mike Gillespie against son-in law and Trojan head coach Chad Kreuter. Also included in the "family feud" is Gillespie's grandson Cade Kreuter, who plays both the infield and outfield for USC.

BELL WITH GAME-WINNER: Dillon Bell (Bakersfield/HS) drove in the game-winning run with a sacrifice to center to help UCI complete the sweep over Cal State Bakersfield Sunday. After watching the Roadrunners erase a 7-2 lead and tie the game in the top of the ninth, the Anteaters loaded the bases to set the stage for Bell, who drove the first pitch to center, scoring Jordan Fox (Hacienda Heights/Bishop Amat HS) from third.

LEYLAND MAKES `EM COUNT: Sophomore Jordan Leyland (San Dimas/HS) had two hits last weekend but made them both count, driving in three runs in two games. Leyland came to plate with the bases loaded Friday and slapped a two-run single to right to put UCI on the board. Saturday he found himself at the plate with a runner on first and knocked a triple to right to give the Anteaters their second run of the inning. Leyland is hitting .373 with 19 hits in 17 games played. He has logged four doubles, two triples and driven in eight on the season.

STEVENSON REACHES 50 HITS: Casey Stevenson (Saugus/College of the Canyons) hit .333 (5 for 15) to lead the Anteater starters in action last week. Stevenson went 2 for 4 against UCLA and then added two hits in the series opener against Cal State Bakersfield. The second baseman tacked on one hit and an RBI before having his seven-game hit streak halted Sunday. Stevenson is batting .316 and became the third Anteater to reach 50 hits this season. He is third with 10 doubles and holds the team-high in triples with four and runs scored with 44. Stevenson is also perfect on the base-paths at 5 for 5.

CUSICK TOPS THE CHARTS: Senior Jeff Cusick (Mission Viejo/Santa Margarita HS) leads the Anteaters with a .383 average and paces the club with 59 hits, 15 doubles, six home runs and 41 RBI. Cusick also has been issued 20 base on balls for a team-high and has been fanned just eight times in 154 at bats to rank 16th in the nation in the "Toughest to Strikeout" category. The first baseman, who was held hitless in back-to-back games (UCLA, CSUB) for the first time since February (Feb. 21, 26), rebounded with a hit Saturday and three more on Sunday. Cusick was 1 for 4 with a double as UCI clinched the series win and finished the weekend with a 3-for-4 performance at the plate.

SUMMERS STOPS RALLY SUNDAY, STARTS TUESDAY: Sophomore Matt Summers (Scottsdale, AZ/Chaparral HS), slated to make the start against USC Tuesday, entered in a crucial situation Sunday and halted a CSUB rally by striking out the final two batters of the inning. With the scored tied at seven runs apiece in the top of the ninth and runners on second and third with one out, Summers walked one to load the bases but then rallied to fan the final two batters of the inning. The right-hander earned the win following Dillon Bell's game-winning sacrifice fly and improved to 2-2. He has struck out 23 batters in 19 innings while allowing 16 earned runs.

BIBONA FOUR AWAY FROM RECORD: Daniel Bibona (Lake Forest/Santa Margarita HS) registered 10 strikeouts against the Roadrunners and is now four away from claiming the all-time record, currently held by Scott Gorgen (2006-08) at 327. Bibona pitched seven innings, yielding two runs (one earned) on nine hits and did not walk a batter to improve to 8-2 on the year. The All-American has 94 strikeouts and is six away from breaking into the top 10 of the UCI season records. He leads the Big West in wins, ERA at 2.20 and innings pitched with 82. Bibona, who has walked 15 and allowed 20 earned runs, is holding opposing batters to a .209 average. With 30 career wins Bibona is tied for fourth in the records. Gary Wheelock holds the all-time record in victories with 37, recorded from 1972-74.

CUSICK MOVES INTO THIRD IN DOUBLES: Cusick is also climbing the ladder in the UCI career annals. With one double last week, he has moved into third with 46, passing Terry Stupy, who posted 45 from 1972-74. Jeff Malinoff holds the record with 49 (1971-74) while Matt Anderson is in the No. 2 spot with 48 (2002-05).

BERGMAN WINS SECOND STRAIGHT DECISION: Christian Bergman (Altadena/St. Francis HS) collected his second consecutive win Saturday after hurling 8.1 innings of two-run, four hit baseball. The right-hander, who was a Collegiate Baseball "Louisville Slugger" National Player of the Week last week, struck out seven and did not walk a batter to improve to 5-2. Bergman, slated to start Saturday against Cal Poly, has fanned 51 batters in 68.2 innings. He has issued just 10 free passes to lead the starters and also has registered two complete games and a save this season.

PETTIS SOLID BUT COMES AWAY WITH NO DECISION: Senior Eric Pettis continues to be consistent for the Anteaters after pitching seven innings and holding the Roadrunners to four runs (three earned) on eight hits. However, the right-hander did not come away with a win after CSUB rallied to tie the game with two runs in the eighth and three in the ninth. Pettis, who has not pitched less than six innings in any start this season, is 6-3 with a 3.38 ERA. He has recorded 51 strikeouts in 82.2 innings and walked 19 while allowing 31 earned runs.

PETTIS PERFECT IN RELIEF: Pettis has made four relief appearances and come away with a save in each. In all four opportunities, Pettis has not allowed a hit, a walk or an earned run. His longest relief stint this season was a one-inning effort against Saint Mary's and Cal State Bakersfield. Pettis now has 38 career saves for the Anteaters.

ABOUT USC: The Trojans are 19-24 overall and 5-13 in the Pac-10 after defeating No. 19 Arizona twice in a three-game series.

USC is led by Ricky Oropesa, who is hitting .343 with a team-high 59 hits and 40 RBI. The infielder also tops the team with 16 doubles and 11 home runs.

USC is hitting .287 as a team while the pitching staff holds a 4.71 ERA.

AGAINST THE BIG WEST: USC is 5-4 against the Big West this season.

THE SERIES: USC holds a 27-23 lead in the all-time series records against the Anteaters. However, UCI has won eight straight games against the Trojans.

ABOUT CAL POLY: Cal Poly is 12-27 overall and 5-10 in the Big West. The Mustangs captured a series win against Long Beach State over the weekend to snap a four-game losing streak.

The team is led by Luke Yoder, who is pacing the starters with a .320 average. The outfielder/designated hitter has 49 hits, including 12 doubles, four triples and eight home runs. Bobby Crocker is the team's RBI leader with 31 and his hitting .307 with 13 stolen bases.

THE ROTATION: Lefty Matt Leonard is scheduled to open the series against Daniel Bibona Friday. Leonard faced Long Beach State in the opening game of the conference series and lasted 4.1 innings while giving up nine runs on 13 hits to fall to 0-6 on the season. Leonard has logged 63.2 innings in 11 starts and struck out 31 batters. He has walked 17 while allowing 41 earned runs.

Righty D.J. Mauldin will make the Saturday start. Mauldin is 3-2 with an 8.10 ERA. The senior has struck out 23 batters in 43.1 innings and walked 38 batters in 11 appearances. Against LBSU, Mauldin held the Beach to four runs on five hits in 5.2 innings while striking out two and walking six in the win.

Eugene Wright is due to close out the schedule Sunday. The right-hander is 1-3 with a 5.87 ERA and has tossed 46 innings. In 14 appearances and four starts, Wright has struck out 35 and walked 20 while giving up 30 earned runs. Last week Wright gave up seven runs on seven hits in 3.1 innings but did not figure in the decision. Mark DeVincenzi picked up the win after 2.2 innings in relief in a 16-15 Mustang win. DeVincenzi is 1-2 with an 8.10 ERA and has pitched 20 innings in 14 appearances.

THE SERIES: UCI leads 16-11 in the series records. The Anteaters came away with a sweep last season at Anteater Ballpark.

WEEKLY WRAPUP: UC Irvine posted a 3-1 mark last week. The Anteaters fell to its third ranked team of the season to drop to 0-3 after losing a 4-1 contest to then-No. 5 UCLA at Jackie Robinson Stadium.

UCI was shutout through seven innings before an RBI double by Brian Hernandez (Sylmar/College of the Canyons) would put the Anteaters on the board in the eighth.

Starter Evan Brock (Chino Hills/Ayala HS) lasted 1.1 innings, giving up a run on one hit and walking three to fall to 3-3 on the season. Kyle Hooper (Saugus/HS) allowed three runs on six hits in two innings of work. Hernandez and Stevenson led UCI with two hits apiece.

The Anteaters continued non-conference action against Cal State Bakersfield over the weekend and came away with a hat-trick of one-run wins.

Early scoring benefited UCI in the series opener as Jordan Leyland put the team on the board in the first with a two-run single. After the Roadrunners cut the lead in half with a solo home run off Bibona in the second, UCI tacked on a run in the third by capitalizing on a leadoff triple by Casey Stevenson. The Anteater pitching staff did the rest as Bibona pitched seven innings and then gave way to Kyle Necke (Walnut/HS), who struck out two in a hitless eighth inning. Pettis shut the door on the Roadrunners by striking out the side in order in the ninth for his fourth save in UCI's 3-2 win.

The Anteaters scored again in the first en route to a second 3-2 victory over CSUB. Hernandez and Leyland each drove in a run before the Roadrunners would cut the lead in half with a run in the second. CSUB briefly tied the game in the fourth taking advantage of its second leadoff triple of the game but the Anteaters punched back with a run in the fourth as Stevenson was hit by the pitch with the bases loaded to force in Francis Larson (Yorba Linda/Esperanza HS). Christian Bergman earned the win after 8.1 innings and Kyle Necke locked up his seventh save after setting down the final two batters of the ninth.

UCI took a 7-2 lead through seven innings, taking advantage of a pair of Roadrunner errors and then getting timely hits in the seventh from Ronnie Shaeffer (Garden Grove/Pacifica HS) and a key sacrifice by Cory Olson (Anaheim/Orange Coast College) on a squeeze play. However, the Roadrunners battled, scoring twice in the eighth and three in the ninth to knot the score at seven runs. UCI loaded the bases in the ninth and Dillon Bell recorded the walk-off sacrifice, scoring pinch-runner Jordan Fox from third.