Anteaters Walk Off with Series Opening Win

April 9, 2010

Box Score

Irvine, Calif. - Anteater first baseman Jeff Cusick hit a three-run, walk-off home run to lift UC Irvine to a 7-4 Big West Conference win over Cal State Fullerton Friday night at Anteater Ballpark.

With the loss, the Titans' four-game winning streak comes to an end. It also drops their record to 16-12, overall and 3-1 in Big West action. Irvine improves to 18-9, 4-0.

Daniel Bibona went all the way for the Anteaters, holding the Titans to just four hits. The lefty struck out eight and improved to 5-2. Nick Ramirez (0-3), on in relief of starter Noe Ramirez, suffered the loss.

Nick came on to get Noe out of a jam in the seventh and pitched a scoreless eighth, but was touched in the ninth for three of Irvine's 12 total hits on the night. Sean Madigan and Casey Stevenson singled to lead off the bottom of the last frame and scored on Cusick's blast.

Irvine trailed briefly in the seventh but picked up a run on three hits to even the game back up at 4-4. After singles by DJ Crumlich and Stevenson, Brian Hernandez, who homered in his previous at bat, doubled to the left field wall driving in Crumlich. Starter Noe Ramirez intentionally walked Cusick to load the bases and then handed the ball over to Nick Ramirez. Nick Ramirez moved from first to the mound and shut the door, getting Ryan Schaeffer to roll into a 6-4-3 double play to avoid any further damage.

Noe Ramirez finished the night allowing four runs on nine hits over 6.1 innings. He struck out six and walked two on 104 pitches.

The Titans had just battled back from a 3-1 deficit to tie the game and then take the lead. Carlos Lopez doubled to kick off the inning and scored as Tyler Pill singled inside the bag a hitter later. Corey Jones laid down a bunt that went for a sacrifice, but catcher Francis Larson's throw went down the right field line allowing Pill to come all the way around to tie the game at 3-3.

Jones moved up to second on a Billy Marcoe sacrifice, went to third on a Bibona wild pitch and scored as the UCI lefty balked. Jones went hard down the third base line in a fake steal and flustered Bibona enough to provoke the balk. It was the fourth run scored by Cal State Fullerton this year via a balk.

Madigan's RBI-single in the bottom of the fifth broke a 1-1 tie scoring Ryan Fisher from second base. Madigan's single was a soft blooper that dropped in front of left fielder Walker Moore and then kicked off Moore's glove taking away any opportunity to throw out Fisher who never hesitated coming around third. An inning later, Hernandez hit his third home run of the year, to give UC I the 3-1 advantage.

Nick Ramirez evened the game at 1-1 in the top of the second by hitting his fourth home run of the year, a two-out solo shot off Bibona to right. The long ball was Nick Ramirez's third in the last four games.

Irvine pushed across the first run via small-ball. Sean Madigan was hit by Noe Ramirez to lead off the first and moved to second on a sharp single through the right side by Stevenson. No. 3 hitter Hernandez successfully sacrificed the runners over with a two-strike bunt setting up a run-scoring ground out by the clean-up hitter, Cusick.

Lopez was the only Titan with multiple hits on the night. Five Anteaters had more than one hit with Stevenson leading all players with three. Cusick had four RBI.

Billy Marcoe (13-game), Corey Jones (8-game), Christian Colon (7-game) and Joey Siddons (5-games) each saw their hitting streaks come to an end on Friday night. Nick Ramirez extended his to seven games with his second-inning homer.

The two teams will square off Saturday afternoon. First pitch is scheduled for 1 p.m.