Once again, Seattle University stayed with UC Irvine thanks to a gutty pitching performance, but the Anteaters were able to score once in the bottom of the ninth inning to defeat the Redhawks, 3-2, Saturday afternoon in a non-conference collegiate baseball game at Anteater Field.
Seattle U starter Ted Hammond (Shoreline, Wash.) began the ninth inning, but Mitchell Holland led off by reaching base on a Redhawk error, and pinch runner Jake Hazard advanced to third base on a double down the left field line by Jonathan Munoz. Hammond intentionally walked Grant Palmer to load the bases and create a force play at every base, but Redhawk reliever Connor Moore (West Richland, Wash.) was unable to extend the game, walking pinch hitter Parker Coss to force in Hazard with the game-winning run.
After three scoreless innings at the start of the game, UC Irvine (13-6) finally broke through in the bottom of the fourth inning, as John Brontsema led off with a bloop single to right field, Munoz drew a walk, and Palmer was hit by a pitch to load the bases with one out. Cameron Bishop laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that scored Brontsema, and Munoz was able to come around from second base and score after the Redhawks completed the out at first base.
With two outs in the top of the sixth inning, Michael McCann (Vancouver, Wash.) drew a walk, Sheldon Stober (Kent, Wash.) sent a groundball up the middle for a single, and Sean Sutton (Coeur d’Alene, Idaho) reached base on an infield single to load the bases. On the first pitch he saw from UC Irvine reliever Ben Ritchey, Brock Carpenter (Milton, Wash.) laced a single into left field, driving in both McCann and Stober to tie the game at 2-2.
For the second straight day, the Redhawks struggled offensively, as four different UC Irvine pitchers held Seattle U to five hits. The Anteater bullpen of Ritchey, Miles Glazier, and Calvin Faucher, who was credited with the victory, allowed just three hits in 3 1/3 innings of work while striking out four Redhawk batters.
Hammond took the loss despite striking out 10 opposing hitters for the second consecutive start, giving up four hits, three walks, and three runs, two of them earned, in eight innings plus three batters. Munoz went 2-for-3 to lead the Anteaters, while Cameron Sterne (Shoreline, Wash.) paced the Seattle U offense with a 2-for-3 effort.
“Ted did not deserve to lose today. He was as good as he has ever been here (at Seattle U),” Seattle U head coach Donny Harrel said. “Good teams do not beat themselves, and UC Irvine took advantage of our mistakes. We need to do a better job of getting runs for our starters and finding ways to generate those runs.”
Seattle University (11-7) will look to salvage one game of the series Sunday, March 20, starting at 12 noon, with links to live stats and live audio available on the baseball schedule page of GoSeattleU.com. The Redhawks will then begin a five-game homestand with a single game against Oregon Tuesday, March 22, followed by the opening series of the conference schedule against CSU Bakersfield over Easter weekend (March 24-26), and concluding with a game against Portland Tuesday, March 29.