Spartans Fall 5-2 To Even Series At UC Irvine

Brett Bautista went 2-for-4 Saturday and is now 5-for-7 in the series.
March 14, 2015

Final Stats



IRVINE, Calif. - The San José State baseball had just one less hit than UC Irvine, but a pair of Anteater home runs did the damage in the Spartans' 5-2 loss Saturday afternoon at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.

UC Irvine (7-10, 0-0 Big West) pulled even in the series with San José State (7-11, 1-5 MW) after last night's 4-0 Spartans' win.

Matt Brown (1-2) took the loss after going just 4.0 innings despite giving up only four hits and two runs (one earned). Brown walked a pair, one of which came around to score, and also hit one batter.

Matt Esparza (3-1) picked up the win for the Anteaters by going 6.1 innings and allowing just one run on five hits while striking out six and walking two.

The Spartans couldn't capitalize on a couple of early scoring opportunities, the best of which came in the top of the third. Tyler Olivet bounced a 2-2 Esparza pitch over the first base bag for a double and moved to third on an error by UCI's first baseman that allowed Andre Mercurio to reach safely. With one out and Olivet and Mercurio at the corners, Dillan Smith struck out after failing to get a bunt down and Brett Bautista flied to center to end the threat.

"We had first and third with one out and we failed to execute a bunt to score a run. I think that's a two-run swing there because we struck out," said Spartans' head coach Dave Nakama. "Like I told these guys, when you play good teams you get minimal opportunities, so when you get those opportunities you have to make the most of them, and we didn't today. We pitched well enough to win. We have to score more runs and do a better job executing when we get that opportunity."

San José State drew first blood in the top of the fourth, when David Campbell worked a one-out walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch and scored on a Chris Williams line drive into right center.

UC Irvine answered right back in the bottom half, however. Brown walked the leadoff hitter, Cameron Bishop, who was then sacrificed to second and came around to score on Grant Palmer's single to right that fell just in front of Smith.

Hilario Tovar came on to replace Brown in the bottom of the fifth, and Anteaters' second baseman Keston Hiura greeted him with a one-out solo blast over the fence in left center to make it 3-1.

After the Spartans threatened in two of the next three innings, the Anteaters padded their lead in the bottom of the seventh. Shortstop Mikey Duarte struck out on three pitches to lead off the inning, but Hiura ripped a one-out double to left center for his fourth hit of the game and scored on Bishop's home run to right center.

Olivet singled to left to score Joe Stefanki in the bottom of the ninth, but UCI's Kyle Davis closed out his 2.2 innings on the mound with his third save of the season by retiring Mercurio three pitches later to end the game.

Sunday's rubber match will get underway at 1:00 p.m. at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.

UC Irvine 5, San Jose State 2 (Mar 14, 2015 at Irvine, CA)


San Jose State...... 000 100 001 - 2 7 1 (7-11)

UC Irvine........... 000 210 20X - 5 8 1 (7-10)


Pitchers: San Jose State - Brown, Matt; TOVAR, Hilario(5); BERUMEN, Jackson(8) and Stefanki, Joe

. UC Irvine - Esparza; Davis(7) and McClanahan.

Win-Esparza(3-1) Save-Davis(3) Loss-BROWN, Matt(1-2) T-2:19 A-490

HR UCI - Hiura (4); Bishop (1).

Weather: 90 degrees