UC Irvine Baseball is doomed by a difficult start in their loss of the season to Stanford – Daily News
No matter how good a baseball team is, it’s very hard to win after a talented opponent takes seven runs in the first inning.
That was the reality of UC Irvine against Stanford Monday night in the four-team Stanford Regional championship game of the NCAA tournament. The Cardinal lunged at UCI for seven runs and eight hits before the anteaters had a chance to grab a bat and claim an 11-8 win at Stanford’s Sunken Diamond.
The defeat ended the UCI season at age 43-18, with a Big West Conference record for one-season wins, her first regional appearance since 2014, and a determined effort against a solid Stanford team. The Cardinal (36-15) will reach a best-of-three superregional against Texas Tech next weekend in Lubbock, Texas, with the winner moving into the College World Series with eight teams.
Nathan Church scored a first inning home run for the UCI and left 4 for 6 on the night to underscore a regional performance where he played 13 for 26 in five games. Dillon Tatum managed a double home run in the third, setting the program record for one-season homers (15).
“I’m very proud of our team,” said UCI head coach Ben Orloff afterwards. “Seventh place in the first inning is very difficult to achieve, but it’s typical of our team that we continued to play hard regardless of the circumstances.
“I think if someone tuned into the game at 7:15 pm (first at the end of Stanford) they didn’t think we’d have Mike Peabody able to tie the game in ninth place. It’s an honor for the kids. It was a special season. ”
Stanford knew what UCI was capable of after seeing the Anteaters put together an eighth inning of six to win their Sunday night meeting and force the rematch.
“We needed every run,” said Stanford’s Tim Tawa, who had a double home run and an RBI single in the first inning. “It was a great game to be part of it. We knew it was going to be a long game and we had to fight (Irvine) for everything. ”
Orloff knew he was going to use lots of pitchers in the Anteaters’ fifth game in four days, but felt comfortable starting with Game 1 star Mike Frias who scored a full game two in a win over Nevada on Friday night threw.
But Frias gave up four hits in a row to start the game and was removed after the fifth hit. Eddie Park hit the first pitch for a single and Tim Tawa hit a 3-and-1 fastball for a two-run home run.
Brock Jones hit a number in the triangle between the mound and third base for a single and Kody Huff doubled up to the left to put the runners in second and third. Christian Robinson hit a low fly to hit Jones.
Orloff drew Frias, but Stanford continued to produce against savior Gordon Ingebritson. Nick Brueser scored with a victim fly in the middle to make it 4-0. None of the next three batter got the ball out of the infield, but still loaded the bases.
Drew Bowser hit a Justin Torres fielding error, Tommy Troy hit a slow roller in third place, and a colorful single hit the bases. Park then pocketed the center to score two more runs and Tawa singled right for another and a 7-0 lead.
Church homered in the first and Tatum in the bottom of the second, but Stanford added in the second and third single runs to make the 9-3.
UCI scraped back but struggled with runners in the points position – they stranded two with no outs in the third, stranded Torres after a leadoff triple in the fifth, and eventually left 12 runners on the base. The Big West Masters also made four mistakes in the first three innings, and five of Stanford’s runs were undeserved.
“Nathan Church is one of the best players in the country,” said Orloff. “This is his first full season of college baseball and as good as he is, he will keep improving. And Dillon set a school record for home runs in just 120 at-bats with a calf injury. ”
The anteaters were behind by 11: 5 and went into the bottom of the seventh. With two outs, the Stanford Reliefs went base load and Luke Spillane’s doubles doubled right field and scored two to reduce the lead to 11-7.
Stanford trainer Dave Esquer’s plan was to tag the UCI lineup. Four of the first five hitters are left-handed, so Cardinal left-handed Drew Dowd started.
After that, the cardinal flopped the pitchers according to the anteater lineup – left-handed above and right-handed below. They went through eight pitchers by the end of the game, with Zach Grech facing 11 thugs in two innings.
Grech had two quick outs in the ninth game before Spillane scored his third goal of the game. Left-handed pinch hitter Jake Palmer was then semi-deliberately run by Grech.
Stanford switched to left-handed Jacob Palisch to face the UCI left. Church hemmed a single to the left to score a run and keep the inning alive, but Palisch pulled Mike Peabody back in with a high fly.
The anteaters scored 46 runs in their five games. Of the 30 allowed runs, 14 came in two innings of the game and 11 of the allowed runs were undeserved.
Stanford took five of seven games from the UCI this season after winning three of four during their non-conference streak at Stanford in mid-March.